Browns To Start Dorian Thompson-Robinson In Week 11

While the Browns quickly pivoted to P.J. Walker during Deshaun Watson‘s first bout of shoulder trouble this season, they are now expected to move back to rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson.

With Watson needing season-ending shoulder surgery, Bleacher Report’s Jordan Schultz reports the Browns are expected to turn back to Thompson-Robinson. Despite the UCLA product’s rough outing in Week 4 replacing Watson,’s Mary Kay Cabot indeed indicates the expected plan is for the rookie fifth-rounder to retake the reins against the Steelers. Kevin Stefanski has since confirmed the decision.

The Browns saw enough from Thompson-Robinson this summer they were comfortable trading Josh Dobbs to the Cardinals in a pick-swap deal that brought back a 2024 fifth-rounder. Cleveland’s 2023 fifth-round choice, however, struggled in his first NFL action. Thompson-Robinson completed 19 of 36 passes for 121 yards and three interceptions in a 28-3 loss to the Ravens. The Browns then benched the inexperienced passer for Walker, who had arrived as a practice squad QB just before the season.

To be fair, Thompson-Robinson did not have much notice of his first NFL start taking place. A weekend MRI led to Watson being ruled out, and that decision did not occur until just before gametime. This time around, Thompson-Robinson will receive extended practice work ahead of the Browns’ rematch with the Steelers.

Thompson-Robinson, who turned 24 on Tuesday, gained considerable seasoning in college. Thanks to the extra year of eligibility the NCAA provided athletes affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Thompson-Robinson started in four seasons at UCLA. He also received extensive playing time as a freshman in 2018. Through the course of his five-year run in Los Angeles, Thompson-Robinson attempted 1,359 passes. En route to becoming this year’s 140th overall pick, DTR threw a career-high 27 touchdown passes and notched his first 3,000-yard passing season (3,169) while completing 69.6% of his throws last season.

The Browns also picked Thompson-Robinson for his rushing chops. He finished with 600-plus rushing yards in his final two Bruins seasons, totaling 645 and 12 TDs in 2022. Walker does not bring as much of a run-game element to the equation, and the Browns will see what the younger passer can provide in a pivotal rematch. The Steelers prevailed in Week 2, hounding Watson with a sustained pass rush. The 6-3 teams’ rematch will go a long way toward the respective clubs’ playoff standing.

Cleveland is 2-2 in the games Watson did not finish, with Walker piloting both wins. The three-year Panthers backup, however, has completed just 49% of his passes this season. Walker, 28, has made two starts and replaced Watson in Indianapolis. Together, Walker and Thompson-Robinson carry a 1-to-8 TD-INT ratio this season. Whomever the Browns end up calling on to start the bulk of their remaining games, they will face an uphill battle. Though, the team’s No. 1-ranked pass defense will provide a reasonable safety net even without Watson.

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