Browns’ Deshaun Watson out Sunday, P.J. Walker to start vs. Seahawks: Why it’s a good move for Cleveland

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Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson is out for Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks with a shoulder injury, and backup quarterback P.J. Walker will start, coach Kevin Stefanski announced Wednesday. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Watson left Sunday’s win against the Indianapolis Colts in the first quarter after taking a hit from Colts defender Dayo Odeyingbo.
  • The Browns (4-2) said Watson was checked for a concussion and cleared. Stefanski said after the game that he was being extra cautious with Watson’s injured right shoulder.
  • Walker checked in for Watson on Cleveland’s next offensive series. Walker only went 15-of-32 passing for 178 yards with an interception but made key throws late in the game to help Cleveland secure the win.

Why this is a good move

This was the best move for the Browns — resting Watson, giving Walker three full days of practice snaps and trying to eliminate any uncertainty in the locker room or on the practice field. Stefanski still doesn’t want to talk about whether Watson’s injury was originally misdiagnosed or why the Browns were so public with their belief that he’d be back soon, but it was time for the Browns to say definitively that Watson won’t be back until he’s ready.

Walker was officially signed to the active roster Wednesday and will get the week to get comfortable with the game plan and his wide receivers. With the trade deadline next Tuesday, the Browns can further evaluate Watson and the state of their broken offense. — Zac Jackson, Browns beat writer

Resting Watson shouldn’t come as a surprise

Watson clearly is injured, and he never looked close to comfortable in two series in Indianapolis. It was surprising that the Browns put him out there, and given the results, it’s unsurprising that he’ll now be shelved until he has full strength in his shoulder and full confidence in himself.

Stefanski said the hit that Watson took last week caused “residual swelling” and led Stefanski to the conclusion that the Browns need to let Watson focus on his rehab. There’s still a bit of mystery involved with this whole process, and it’s still fair to wonder if Watson will play at a high level at any point this season. But at least the Browns appear to be committed to developing one game plan and let Watson get back to full health. — Jackson


Heading into Sunday’s game, Watson was listed as questionable with a shoulder injury. He returned to practice Thursday and was a full participant Friday after missing the Browns’ previous two games.

Walker will make his second start for Cleveland. The Browns are 2-0 in games Walker’s appeared in despite him completing just 50 percent of his passes, throwing no touchdowns and three interceptions.

Required reading

(Photo: Dylan Buell / Getty Images)

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