The Browns are currently deciding between Joe Flacco and Dorian Thompson-Robinson, who had been in concussion protocol for nearly two weeks. Cleveland announced he’s cleared protocol and will be ready to go if his number is called.
Thompson-Robinson was initially named the starter following Deshaun Watson’s season-ending injury but Flacco took over last week and provided a spark for the passing game.
“Both guys practiced this week. Both guys practiced well, I got faith in both guys. But not going to name a starter,” Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski said on Friday, December 8. “I think we’ll all know when the ball kicks off.”
The Browns are not required to name a starter until game day, which Stefanski pointed out. Cleveland may be playing it slow to make Jacksonville prepare for both options.
The Jaguars also also evaluating their own quarterback situation. Trevor Lawrence is dealing with a high-ankle sprain he suffered on Monday Night Football against the Cincinnati Bengals and is questionable. He did practice this week in limited fashion but made it clear he wouldn’t be on the field if he felt he was holding his team back.
“He’s feeling good,” Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson said Friday, December 8. “He moved around a little bit [Thursday], see how he does today. Kind of base it on the medical staff, how Trevor feels.”
If Lawrence is unable to go, C.J. Beathard would get the start for the Jaguars.
Browns Praise Dorian Thompson-Robinson for Progression
For most, the choice seems logical and holding off on making a final call is a bit puzzling. Flacco provided the offense with some veteran poise at the quarterback position that the Browns simply haven’t had this season with Watson on the sideline. He tossed a costly interception in the fourth quarter, but outside of that, Flacco looked sharp.
Thompson-Robinson shined in the preseason with his dual-threat ability but has faced tougher sledding in the games that count. The rookie drew a short-notice start against the Baltimore Ravens on October 1 and tossed three interceptions on the way to a 28-3 loss. In all, Thompson-Robinson has passed for 429 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions this season.
Despite some lackluster numbers, the Browns praised DTR for his development this season.
“I think he continues to ascend. Young player — I think he’s gotten better from the moment he stepped foot on campus,” Stefanski said. “I think just understanding this game, this system operating in the huddle, operating at the line of scrimmage. I thought you’ve seen him take significant steps from the spring then to your point — from his first start to his last start. I think he’s taken significant steps.”
Joe Flacco Urges Browns to Stay in the Moment
After consecutive losses, the Browns are battling for their playoff lives at 7-5 in a crowded AFC. Part of what attracted the Browns to Flacco is his experience. He has 181 starts under his belt and won a Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens.
“Yeah, listen, it’s invigorating for sure. It’s exciting,” Flacco said. “This is what you want. There’s always things, when you’re sitting by yourself and you’re running through things in your head, there’s always things that you’re going to think about and that’s why it is so important, and you always hear people say, just stay in the moment, be where you are.”
The Browns are two games behind the Ravens in the AFC North standings and are among multiple teams battling for a Wild Card spot. A win on Sunday would give the Browns some positive momentum as they look to clinch their first playoff berth since 2020.