QB Notes: Watson, Pickett, Herbert, Cards

After a Week 3 bounce-back effort, Deshaun Watson sat out Week 4 due to a shoulder injury. The Browns endured a 28-3 loss. While Kevin Stefanski said the team is on the same page with its high-priced quarterback medically, the fourth-year HC added (via cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot) Watson was cleared to play against the Ravens.

He knows is body, he’s played through serious pain before, very, very serious injuries,” Stefanski said. “It wasn’t a matter of pain tolerance. He just did not feel like he had his full faculties.”

The 2022 trade acquisition had missed one game due to injury since the ACL tear that ended his 2017 rookie season, being sidelined for a 2019 contest. The Browns, who saw Watson predecessor Baker Mayfield struggle when playing through a shoulder injury in 2021, traded away their Watson backup — Josh Dobbs — just before the regular season, leading to rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson taking the keys.

Here is the latest from the QB landscape:

  • After limping off the field in Houston, Kenny Pickett received good news upon going through an MRI. The second-year Steelers QB did not sustain serious damage to his knee, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac. Pickett sustained a bone bruise and a muscle strain, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo, but he has a chance to play this week. With the Steelers’ bye in Week 6, it would make sense for the team to hold its starter out. Mitchell Trubisky, who signed an offseason extension, remains in place as Pickett’s backup. After being usurped by the 2022 first-rounder, Trubisky was needed after Pickett sustained two concussions as a rookie.
  • The Chargers also received fairly good news on their starter. Justin Herbert is not expected to miss time after suffering a finger injury in Week 4. That said, Rapoport notes Herbert did suffer a finger break on his nonthrowing hand. Herbert playing through early-season injuries is, of course, nothing new. The star passer battled rib trouble after a Week 2 injury last year. The Bolts’ franchise centerpiece has never missed a game due to injury.
  • With Kyler Murray not particularly close to returning, Dobbs’ unexpected starter run will continue. The Cardinals pursued Dobbs in free agency, and Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com notes the team made him an offer to rejoin OC Drew Petzing. While Dobbs preferred a Cleveland return, he ended up back with Petzing — the Browns’ QBs coach last season — in Arizona via the “out of the blue” Cards trade offer. Dobbs became Arizona’s surprise starter due partially to the new staff’s concerns about Colt McCoy‘s lack of mobility, per Urban. McCoy, 37, did not impress as the starter during training camp. Murray’s two-year backup, who had signed a two-year deal worth $6MM in 2022, remains a free agent.
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