Nov 12, 2023; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) runs with the ball as Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Justin Madubuike (92) defends during the second half at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jessica Rapfogel-USA TODAY Sports

Browns QB Deshaun Watson (shoulder): ‘In a great spot’

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson said he is making progress as he continues his recovery on his surgically repaired throwing shoulder.

Watson sustained the season-ending injury to his right shoulder during Cleveland’s 33-31 victory in Baltimore on Nov. 12. He underwent surgery the following month.

“The situation is good,” Watson said on his “QB Unplugged” podcast. “We’re in a great spot, right where we need to be. We have plenty of time to ramp up the throwing sessions and things like that, but everything is going pretty smooth.

“As long as I’m feeling well and the doctors and (physical therapists) and everyone are on the same page, we’re in a good spot.”

Watson, 28, completed 61.4 percent of his passes for 1,115 yards with seven touchdowns and four interceptions in six games in 2023.

A three-time Pro Bowl selection, Watson has thrown for 16,756 yards with 118 touchdowns and 45 interceptions in 66 career games with the Houston Texans (2017-20) and Browns.

–Field Level Media

Dec 3, 2023; Inglewood, California, USA; Cleveland Browns general manager Andrew Berry reacts during the game against the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Browns GM: ‘Love’ to have Joe Flacco as QB backup to Deshaun Watson

Cleveland general manager Andrew Berry is open to the idea of bringing back quarterback Joe Flacco after the veteran helped the Browns reach the playoffs, as he tries to line up a 2024 backup to Deshaun Watson.

“We’d absolutely love to have Joe back,” Andrew Berry said at a press conference Monday. “He’s a good quarterback.”

Flacco, who turned 39 on Jan. 16, was picked up as a free agent after a season-ending shoulder injury to starter Watson. Before Flacco’s arrival, P.J. Walker and rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson shared the duties at starter.

The Browns went 4-1 with Flacco in the regular season, as he threw for 300-plus yards in each of the last four games, all wins, to set a franchise record for that streak. He completed 60.3 percent of his passes for 1,616 yards, 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

Cleveland, the fifth seed, fell to the host Houston Texans 45-14 in the first round of the AFC playoffs on Jan. 13, when Flacco threw for 307 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.

“He played winning football for us,” Berry said. “He did a great job of coming in and really playing at a high level that allowed us to go on a run at the end of the year. They played really good football in December — even if maybe we ended a little bit with a thud against Houston in the wild-card round. Really pleased with what Joe did on the field, pleased with who he was as a teammate.”

Berry compared Flacco’s situation to the 2022 season, when Jacoby Brissett started at QB while Watson was suspended for 11 games. Brissett parlayed that solid performance into a free-agent signing with the Washington Commanders in 2023.

The general manager said availability and cost are considerations in building the roster.

“I want to bring all of our good players back, but there are constraints to that,” Berry said. “I’m really kind of both sides of the aisle. Would have no problem having Joe back.”

Bery is open to carrying three quarterbacks on the roster but Watson, with his $230 million contract, is the starter.

“Zero consideration. Zero consideration because of how both individuals are,” Berry said of making anybody but Watson the starter. “It’s not a concern internally at all.”

Thompson-Robinson, with his mobility strong arm, remains in the mix for a QB spot next season.

“In terms of the quarterback room, we’ve always valued the quarterback position,” Berry said. “I think if you look at our history over the last four offseasons, we’ve always been towards the top of the league in backup quarterback expenditures and resources. … I believe backup quarterback is a top-30 position on the roster. We do believe in carrying three.”

–Field Level Media

Dec 10, 2023; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Joe Flacco (15) throws a pass during the first half against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Flacco is Browns’ starting QB, coach announces

Quarterback Joe Flacco’s second straight strong showing for the Cleveland Browns is all that coach Kevin Stefanski needed to see before declaring Flacco the starter for the remainder of the season.

The 38-year-old Flacco, who has played only a handful of games per season since 2020 and hasn’t played a full season since 2017, threw for 311 yards and three touchdowns on Sunday as the Browns edged the Jacksonville Jaguars 31-27.

On Dec. 3, Flacco completed 23 of 44 passes for 254 yards and two touchdowns. He has been intercepted once each week.

Flacco took over when Watson’s backup, rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson, was sidelined by concussion symptoms Nov. 26 against the Denver Broncos.

Now in his 16th season, Flacco, the MVP of the Super Bowl for the Baltimore Ravens following the 2012 season, went unsigned until the Browns came calling when Deshaun Watson was lost for the season with a shoulder injury.

“Joe’s been in big games. So (I) feel comfortable with him leading the football team,” Stefanski said in announcing his decision.

Including Sunday’s game, Flacco is 20th on the NFL’s all-time passing yards list with 42,574.

Cleveland (8-5) is in the thick of the AFC wild-card race after making the postseason just once since 2002.

After 11 seasons with the Ravens, Flacco played in eight games in 2019 for the Broncos and in 12 games over the last three years for the New York Jets. In 184 games (181 starts), Flacco has 234 touchdown passes and 148 interceptions while completing 61.5 percent of his passes.

–Field Level Media

Nov 12, 2023; Baltimore, Maryland, USA;  Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) throws on the run during the second halfagainst the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Browns QB Deshaun Watson to undergo season-ending shoulder surgery

The Cleveland Browns ruled out quarterback Deshaun Watson for the remainder of the season on Wednesday morning after an MRI revealed he needs to undergo surgery on his right (throwing) shoulder.

Watson underwent testing after he was injured during Cleveland’s 33-31 victory over the Baltimore Ravens this past Sunday. He was diagnosed with a left high ankle sprain in addition to a displaced fracture in his shoulder.

“Despite performing at a high level and finishing the game, after consultation with Browns’ Head Physician, James Voos, MD, and industry-leading shoulder specialist, Neal ElAttrache, MD, it has been determined that this injury will require immediate surgical repair to avoid further structural damage,” the Browns said in a statement Wednesday. “Deshaun will be placed on season-ending injured reserve and a full recovery is expected for the start of the 2024 season.”

The news comes one day after the Browns announced running back Nick Chubb underwent a second surgery in September to repair torn ligaments in his right knee. His timeline is less certain. The Browns framing on Tuesday was “estimated recovery time from these surgeries indicates that Nick would be able to return to play during the 2024 season.”

Per NFL Network, Watson visited multiple doctors and wanted to play through the injury. He was advised, however, that the shoulder could “fall apart” if he were to be hit in the same spot.

Watson is expected to make a full recovery for the start of the 2024 season, the team announced.

P.J. Walker likely will be under center when the Browns (6-3) host the Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3) in another big AFC North match this Sunday. Both teams have won two straight and are chasing the Ravens (7-3).

Watson completed 20 of 34 passes with one interception and rushed eight times for 37 yards against Baltimore. Trailing 31-17 in the fourth quarter, his 10-yard touchdown pass to Elijah Moore ignited a comeback capped by a 40-yard walk-off field goal from Dustin Hopkins.

Watson, 28, has completed 61.4 percent of his passes for 1,115 yards with seven touchdowns and four interceptions in six games this season.

–Field Level Media

Nov 12, 2023; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) runs with the ball as Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Justin Madubuike (92) defends during the second half at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jessica Rapfogel-USA TODAY Sports

Browns QB Deshaun Watson having MRI on ankle

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson will have an MRI on his left ankle Monday, coach Kevin Stefanski confirmed.

Watson was wearing a walking boot after Sunday’s 33-31 victory at Baltimore but said he did not expect to miss any time.

“I’ll be fine,” he said after throwing for 213 yards and a touchdown against the Ravens. “Right now I’m not feeling well, but I’ll be fine. I’ll be ready to go.”

Watson, 28, was injured when his leg got rolled up on by Ravens defensive end Jadeveon Clowney near the end of the second quarter. Backup P.J. Walker went in for the last play of the first half.

The Browns (6-3) will host the Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3) in another big AFC North match this Sunday. Both teams have won two straight and are chasing the Ravens (7-3).

Watson completed 20 of 34 passes with one interception and rushed eight times for 37 yards against Baltimore. Trailing 31-17 in the fourth quarter, his 10-yard touchdown pass to Elijah Moore ignited a comeback capped by a 40-yard walk-off field goal from Dustin Hopkins.

–Field Level Media

Oct 1, 2023; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) walks off the field after warm ups before the game between the Browns and the Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Browns QB Deshaun Watson, RB Kareem Hunt active vs. Colts

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson is listed as active and in line to start Sunday’s game against the host Indianapolis Colts.

Watson was listed as questionable for the contest after missing the previous two games with a right shoulder injury.

Watson has thrown for 678 yards and four touchdowns against two interceptions in three games this season while getting sacked 12 times.

Running back Kareem Hunt, who was questionable with a thigh injury, also is active for the Browns (3-2). He has 72 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries over three games (one starts) this season.

While Watson and Hunt are active, the Browns listed the following as inactive: cornerback Kahlef Hailassie, safety Ronnie Hickman, defensive linemen Siaki Ika and Isaiah McGuire, linebacker Sione Takitaki, quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson and wide receiver Cedric Tillman.

As for the Colts (3-3), they listed offensive lineman Ike Boettger, tight end Kylen Granson, defensive lineman Isaiah Land, tackle Braden Smith and cornerback Ameer Speed as inactive.

–Field Level Media

Oct 1, 2023; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) watches from the sidelines during the first half against the Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Browns QB Deshaun Watson questionable vs. Colts

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson received all the first-team reps during the portion of Friday’s practice open to the media and was listed as questionable to play against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.

Watson was wearing a harness on his shoulder and a compression sleeve on his right arm Friday. He has not played since bruising the rotator cuff in his right (throwing) shoulder in Week 3.

Coach Kevin Stefanski said he wants to see how Watson responds to the workload from Friday’s practice.

Watson, running back Kareem Hunt (thigh), cornerback Greg Newsome II (hamstring) and tight end Harrison Bryant (hip) are questionable for Sunday’s game and linebacker Sione Takitaki (hamstring) is out, per Stefanski.

PJ Walker, 28, would get the nod against the Colts if Watson is unable to play on Sunday. Walker completed 18 of 34 passes for 192 yards with two interceptions in Cleveland’s 19-17 upset victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.

Watson, 28, has thrown for 678 yards and four touchdowns against two interceptions in three games this season while getting sacked 12 times.

–Field Level Media

Sep 18, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) prepares for a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Acrisure Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Browns QB Deshaun Watson returns to practice

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson returned to practice on Thursday.

He has not played since bruising the rotator cuff in his right (throwing) shoulder in Week 3. He hasn’t had a full practice since Sept. 22.

Offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt and wide receiver Amari Cooper confirmed Watson’s participation on Thursday after he was held out of Wednesday’s first practice of the week.

Watson’s status for Sunday’s game at Indianapolis remains uncertain.

Coming off a win against the previously unbeaten San Francisco 49ers, PJ Walker would again start under center for the Browns (3-2) against the Colts (3-3) if Watson is not ready to return.

Watson has said he first sustained the injury in Week 3 against Tennessee on Sept. 24. Watson insisted that he would play in Week 4 against Baltimore before a “collective decision,” according to the team, sidelined him for that game.

The Browns had a bye in Week 5.

Watson, 28, has thrown for 678 yards and four touchdowns against two interceptions in three games this season while getting sacked 12 times.

–Field Level Media

Oct 1, 2023; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) watches from the sidelines during the first half against the Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Browns QB Deshaun Watson (shoulder) misses practice

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson didn’t practice Wednesday, saying his status for this week is “up in the air,” the latest twist in the soap-opera style saga of the signal-caller’s injured shoulder.

“It just depends on the process of the medical stuff and the treatment and the rehab that we’re doing day to day. It’s up in the air for sure,” Watson told reporters.

This after dueling weekend reports that said Watson either could return this week to play against the Indianapolis Colts or could miss more than a month with a deep contusion to his rotator cuff. Head coach Kevin Stefanski said Monday the team was optimistic that Watson would practice this week.

But then Watson let fly Wednesday that an MRI revealed a “microtear” in the rotator cuff muscle.

“We just gotta continue to take it day-to-day,” Watson said. “I’m not gonna put the team in jeopardy if I can’t do certain things that is gonna allow us to be handicapped in certain situations. That’s the reason why I haven’t been able to step on the field.

“It’s a tricky deal,” he said. “You gotta kind of take that baseball approach and talk to some people that deals with rotator cuffs more often.”

Watson first sustained the injury in Week 3 vs. Tennessee on Sept. 24, he said. Then, Watson insisted that he would play in Week 4 against Baltimore before a “collective decision,” according to the team, sidelined him for that game. Amid all of that, Stefanski said Watson had been medically cleared to play.

The Browns then had a bye in Week 5.

Last Sunday, PJ Walker started and led Cleveland to a win over previously unbeaten San Francisco. Walker would get the start in Indianapolis if Watson can’t play.

“It could be tomorrow, it could be Sunday, it could be two weeks from now. I’m not even sure,” Watson said. “I can’t put a timeline on anything right now.”

Watson, 28, has thrown for 678 yards and four touchdowns against two interceptions in three games this season, getting sacked 12 times.

–Field Level Media

Oct 1, 2023; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) watches from the sidelines during the first half against the Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Deshaun Watson (shoulder) could return next week

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson (shoulder) could be ready to return next week against the Indianapolis Colts, ESPN reported Saturday.

Watson, who is dealing with a deep contusion in his rotator cuff, was ruled out for Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers. It will mark his second straight game missed.

The ESPN report runs in stark contrast to other reports, including Cleveland.com, that say Watson could miss multiple games even more than a month.

“He’s making progress,” Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said Friday. “He’s getting better. He’s very disappointed. He wants to play. He wants to be able to compete with his teammates, so he’s just got to focus on getting better every day.”

P.J. Walker is set to get the start Sunday after rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson struggled in place of Watson on Oct. 1 during a 28-3 setback against the Baltimore Ravens.

Watson had insisted that he would play in Week 4 against Baltimore before a “collective decision,” according to the team, sidelined him for that game. Amid all of that, Stefanski said Watson had been medically cleared to play.

The Browns then had a bye week last week.

Watson has thrown for 678 yards and four touchdowns against two interceptions in three games this season, getting sacked 12 times.

–Field Level Media