The decision comes as a surprise to few. Watson returned to the lineup last week after missing two games with a bruised rotator cuff. The starters didn’t make it through a full quarter, getting hurt again after a hit. Before his exit, Watson didn’t look good at all, giving no zip to his deliveries and low on confidence. He completed 1 of 5 passes for five yards with an interception (and was lucky his final throw wasn’t intercepted).
Rather than try their luck by throwing Watson back into the fire, the Browns will let him rest.
“I just feel like with what happened in the game, hitting his shoulder, there’s residual inflammation that’s affecting his throwing,” Stefanski said. “I think it’s best for him to rest this week and focus on his rehab. As I’ve told you, I’m always going to make what I think are the best decisions for our football team, for Deshaun, and I feel like this is the best decision this week.”
Watson initially injured his shoulder in Week 3 against the Tennessee Titans.
NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero reported Tuesday that Watson underwent a new MRI on his shoulder, which revealed no further damage. However, Watson is dealing with a strained subscapularis muscle that is causing pain and weakness in the rotator cuff.
The prescription for Watson: rest.
In the meantime, Walker will take the reins under center. The Browns signed the QB to the 53-man roster on Wednesday after using three of their practice squad promotions. The veteran started in a Week 6 win over San Francisco and took over in Sunday’s win over the Colts.
On the season, Walker has thrown three INTs with zero TDs on 33-of-66 passing for 370 total passing yards. The Browns’ offense is lacking with Walker under center, but he is a reliable veteran who can guide Stefanski’s scheme.