Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson missed the Week 4 matchup vs. the Baltimore Ravens due to a shoulder injury, and even after having the Week 5 bye to rest up, he's still not ready to return to action. According to CBS Sports HQ Senior NFL Insider Josina Anderson, Watson will not play Sunday when Cleveland hosts the San Francisco 49ers.
Watson missed practice this week on Wednesday and Thursday. NFL Media previously reported he was day-to-day with a rotator cuff contusion. With the Browns' starting quarterback out, they will reportedly not start Dorian Thompson-Robinson this time around.
Instead, head coach Kevin Stefanski said Wednesday that if Watson couldn't play, the Browns would start veteran P.J. Walker. He will be elevated from the practice squad ahead of the game.
"Just felt like it was the right decision for the team," Stefanski said of making Walker the backup to Watson before Watson was ruled out. "I think PJ's been here now for a month-plus, getting a better understanding of what we do. But just felt like it was the right decision for the team."
Watson suffered the injury during the third quarter of Cleveland's win over the Titans in Week 3 on a read-option run where he lowered that shoulder into Tennessee defensive back Amani Hooker. He remained in the game but was severely limited throughout the following week of practice and was ultimately downgraded to out for the matchup against Baltimore.
"He's doing everything in his power, working around the clock with rehab," Stefanski said Monday, via the official team website. "So, he's just doing what he's being told to do in terms of his rehab process."
Thompson-Robinson, who was selected in the fifth round of the 2023 NFL Draft, got the start with Watson sidelined in Week 4 and was not effective as the team fell to the Ravens, 28-3. The rookie out of UCLA completed 19 of his 36 passes for 121 yards and three interceptions.
As the team is set to turn to Walker, the veteran has seven starts under his belt and 15 appearances throughout his career, so he should be able to put the Browns in a more competitive situation. Walker, who signed with the Browns practice squad in August, started five games for the Carolina Panthers in 2022. During that stretch, he led the club to a 2-3 record while completing 58% of his passes, averaging 134.2 passing yards per game, and totaling three touchdowns with three interceptions.