Clowney has twice been a teammate of Watson, in Houston and Cleveland. The Ravens pass rusher said he did not believe the news that Watson would remain on the sidelines with a shoulder injury.
“I did not believe he was sitting out. Even when they told me in this locker room: [backup Dorian Thompson-Robinson], I was like, man, there’s no way,” Clowney said after the Ravens won in dominant fashion, 28-3. “They’re probably playing with us.”
Team doctors medically cleared Watson to play, but it was his decision to sit out. Watson did not throw in practice all week.
“I mean, he knows his body. He’s played through serious pain before — very, very serious injuries,” Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski said on Monday, October 2. “It wasn’t a matter of pain tolerance or anything. He just did not feel like he had his full faculties.”
Dorian Thompson-Robinson Struggles in First Start
With Watson out, the Browns turned to fifth-round rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson, who struggled mightily in his first career start, tossing 3 interceptions against a stout Baltimore defense.
“Obviously, Dorian’s disappointed,” Stefanski said. “You know, that’s the first outing for him. He will continue to get better, but that’s really where my focus is.”
Stefanski said the late scratch of Watson was something they were prepared for, which became clear through the roster moves ahead of the matchup. The Browns elevated veteran PJ Walker from the practice squad, and he served as the primary backup for the game with Watson sidelined.
“You put a plan together and then the backups execute the plan. And then based on who’s available to you, you adjust your game plan both during the week and in game,” Stefanski said. “So, what happened [Sunday] was not an issue of not knowing if DTR was going to play. That was not it at all. We just have to coach better and play better.”
Dorian Thompson-Robinson Knows He Has to Be Better
The Browns took a bit of a gamble by naming Thompson-Robinson as the No. 2 option at quarterback. He excelled in the preseason, opening the door for Cleveland to trade Joshua Dobbs to the Arizona Cardinals for a fifth-round pick.
The rookie stumbled when his number was called on Sunday against the Ravens, but he also didn’t get much help from the running game. However, he took accountability for his mistakes.
“A lot to clean up from my standpoint, just making sure that I can do everything I can possible. I know that there were times when I forced the ball, and tried to make a play,” Thompson-Robinson said after the loss. ““Nobody likes losing, especially me. I’m a big winner and that’s what everybody was hoping for today, including myself. So, like I said, we got a lot to clean up. I have a lot to clean up.”