Jake TrotterESPN Editor3 minute read
BEREA, Ohio — Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson said his second career start will be “day and night” compared to his first two months ago.
“I know what to expect now,” he said Thursday. “I’m not going out there for the first time, I’m not going there wide-eyed anymore.”
The Browns named Thompson-Robinson the starter for Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers after Deshaun Watson was lost for the season with a broken pitching shoulder. Watson injured his shoulder last Sunday in a 33-31 win over the Baltimore Ravens.
Thompson-Robinson started the first game against the Ravens on Oct. 1 in Week 4 with Watson dealing with another shoulder injury, a rotator cuff strain. Thompson-Robinson, however, didn’t know he was starting until Watson’s pregame warmup determined he couldn’t play a few hours before kickoff.
Thompson-Robinson threw three interceptions and took four sacks, as the Ravens won 28-3.
Thompson-Robinson said he learned a lot from the experience and noted that he felt better prepared for the Steelers.
“I know what it takes now to be an NFL quarterback, not just a college quarterback,” he said. “I think I’ve taken the next step.”
The Browns drafted Thompson-Robinson with a fifth-round pick out of UCLA, where he was a five-year starter. He impressed during the preseason and earned the No. 2 job behind Watson after the Browns traded quarterback Joshua Dobbs to the Arizona Cardinals.
But after the loss to the Ravens, the Browns elevated PJ Walker to the starting job while Watson recovered. Walker won two straight games as Cleveland’s primary quarterback, but threw a critical interception late in the loss to the Seattle Seahawks on October 29.
After Watson’s season-ending injury, the Browns decided to give Thompson-Robinson another chance.
“He was in a tough spot,” Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said of Thompson-Robinson’s first start against the Ravens. “I think this week, having a full week of preparation, knowing he’s going to be a starter, I think it’s important.”
The Browns face the Steelers in another key AFC North game. Both teams are 6-3 and a half behind the first-place Ravens (7-3) in the division.
“You have to win,” Thompson-Robinson said. “It’s a game we have to win. Not just for this week but for our future, what we’re trying to achieve and the goals we’re trying to achieve. So it’s a big game. At the end of Anyway, if I go out and follow my period, I’ll be fine.”
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