The Cleveland Browns saw Dorian Thompson-Robinson start at quarterback once this season. It went so poorly, they elevated P.J. Walker off the practice squad to start their next game.
Maybe this time it will be different.
Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski told the Cleveland media that Thompson-Robinson, the fifth-round rookie, will get the start this weekend in place of Deshaun Watson, who will have season-ending shoulder surgery. The Browns play the Pittsburgh Steelers, who have one of the best pass rushing defenses in the NFL.
It's not an ideal spot to get Thompson-Robinson back in the lineup, but nothing is ideal about the Watson injury. The Browns were stuck short at quarterback, in part because they traded Joshua Dobbs in August, and their options were either a low-ceiling veteran in Walker or the hope that the rookie Thompson-Robinson looks better this time around.
Thompson-Robinson started Oct. 1 against the Baltimore Ravens when Watson was out due to a shoulder injury. He completed 19 of 36 passes for 121 yards and three interceptions. The Browns lost 28-3.
The Browns were more competitive with Walker. Including a game against the Indianapolis Colts in which Walker took over for Watson in the first half after Watson aggravated his shoulder injury, the Browns went 2-1 with Walker playing. Walker didn't play great, with one touchdown and five interceptions, and the Browns apparently would rather see if the rookie has made strides.
Thompson-Robinson was good in the preseason and offers intriguing dual-threat skills. His preseason was a reason the Browns traded Dobbs. Thompson-Robinson could start the rest of the season if he plays well enough, though if he struggles the Browns would likely turn back to Walker or someone else later in the season.
All that's set for now is the Browns' plan to start Thompson-Robinson on Sunday. Hopefully, his second start goes better than the first.