Browns QB Deshaun Watson is questionable to play against the Ravens amid shoulder soreness

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson, left, throws a pass as he is pulled down by Tennessee Titans defensive end Denico Autry (96) during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)

CLEVELAND (AP) — Deshaun Watson watched most of practice from the sideline Friday. The Cleveland Browns hope the extra rest will help their star quarterback be ready for a division rival.

Watson was listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against Baltimore because of a shoulder injury that limited him all week.

Coach Kevin Stefanski said he’s “hopeful” Watson will be healthy enough to go.

“He’s been taking care of his body,” Stefanski said. “He knows his body, so that’s why I’m hopeful.”

Fifth-round draft pick Dorian Thompson-Robinson would start if Watson doesn’t.

“All of our backups have to be ready to play,” Stefanski said. “It’s just the life of a backup.”

Watson threw just a couple of passes Friday before walking off the practice field and having his shoulder checked by a team trainer. Watson was wearing a brace on his throwing shoulder, and Stefanski said he likely would wear it if he plays against the Ravens (2-1).

The Browns (2-1) might also consider tweaking their game plan in hopes of having Watson take fewer hits.

“Yeah, I think you have to be smart,” Stefanski said. “You look around the league, you always have to protect yourself when you can. And I think we’ve talked about that before, and I know around the league you see players that make a ton of plays with their feet and then you protect yourself.

“And Deshaun’s done that over the course of his career. So he will always play his style, but you always have to be smart as well.”

Watson is coming off his best game since signing with the Browns last year. He completed 27 of 33 passes for 289 yards and two touchdowns in a 27-3 drubbing of Tennessee.

He also took several big hits, including a forearm chop from a Titans rusher to the neck area that brought trainers onto the field. Watson shook it off and stayed in the game. The Titans were flagged for roughing the passer on the play.

Watson ‘s performance quieted some of the criticism he received after two shaky outings to start the season. Through three games, Watson has completed 65 of 102 passes (63.7%) for 678 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions.

His injury, even if he’s able to play, is the latest blow for a team still recovering from a season-ending injury to standout running back Nick Chubb.

“We don’t live in uncertain,” defensive end Myles Garrett said. “Whether he plays, doesn’t play, that’s not going to change our mentality going into the game. He’s going to make the best decision for himself as well as for his team and what he can put forth.

“But knowing him, he’s a baller. He’s fought through a lot of things. We think he’ll play. But if he doesn’t, we just have to up our intensity one more notch.”


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