Even after signing Joe Flacco, the Cleveland Browns will continue with Dorian Thompson-Robinson at quarterback.
After beating Pittsburgh on Sunday, ‘DTR’ will resume this weekend at Denver, with Flacco serving as a’support’ player for the time being.
CLEVELAND (AP) — The acquisition of Joe Flacco has not impacted the Cleveland Browns’ plans at quarterback.
Not for another week, at least.
Flacco, a former Super Bowl MVP and 15-year NFL veteran, joined the Browns on Monday, offering them depth, experience, and a backup plan after Deshaun Watson underwent season-ending shoulder surgery.
The 38-year-old Flacco, who went 18-3 versus the Browns in his career while largely with the Ravens, will start on the team’s practice squad and is expected to be upgraded to the active roster soon.
For the time being, the Browns (7-3) will stick with rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson, who came up big in a 13-10 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.
Thompson-Robinson will start again this week at Denver, according to coach Kevin Stefanski, while arrangements for Flacco are still being worked out.
“Joe’s role is to support this team coming in here,” Stefanski explained to reporters during a Zoom session. “We were able to bring in someone with a lot of experience.” He’ll be ideal for that space. He’ll be there.
Flacco worked out for the Browns on Friday, but the team waited until Sunday night to finalize an agreement with him, perhaps to not put any more pressure on Thompson-Robinson.
Flacco was MVP of Super Bowl 47 while with Baltimore and has passed for more than 42,000 yards and 232 TDs. He played the past three seasons with the New York Jets, leading them to an improbable win last season in Cleveland.
At some point, Flacco could take over for Thompson-Robinson, who looked more confident and poised in his second NFL start.
The fifth-round draft pick out of UCLA shook off an interception in the second half and completed four straight passes on Cleveland’s final drive to set up a game-winning field goal by Dustin Hopkins in the final seconds.
With a week of practice, Thompson promised a “night and day” difference from his pro debut on Oct. 1, when he made an emergency start for an injured Watson in a 28-3 loss to Baltimore. Thompson-Robinson threw three interceptions and looked overwhelmed.
He went just 24 of 43 for 165 yards against the Steelers, but a stronger performance gave the Browns confidence he’ll continue to improve.
“He played on time,” Stefanski said. “He did his job. I thought he had a really good week of practice. We talked about that. I thought he prepared really well, but that’s just part of this thing. Got to continue to do that week in and week out.”
Flacco is waiting in the wings in case he can’t.
The Browns have already started three quarterbacks: Watson, Thompson-Robinson, and P.J. Walker, who started two games and came off the bench in the third. Stefanski and Cleveland’s front management appear to want to give Thompson-Robinson every chance to succeed before making another trade.
Cleveland’s top-ranked defense makes them a potential title challenger, but the Browns may need more from their offense, which may mean elevating Flacco, who still has a strong arm.
If Thompson-Robinson can keep the position, Flacco might be another option to help the young quarterback.
“I just think that applies to all of our guys in terms of being a great teammate and sharing wisdom.”