The Cleveland Browns take on the San Francisco 49ers in a game that the home team fans have very low expectations. QB Deshaun Watson may not be available for a couple of more games which leaves rookie QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson and veteran practice squad QB PJ Walker to take over the position.
Walker has been announced as the team’s starting quarterback for this week after the rookie struggled in Week 4. Walker talked about always being ready while OC Alex Van Pelt noted that players should always prepare like they are starting.
The Browns vs. Niners spread has jumped throughout the week as Cleveland must elevate their starting quarterback from the practice squad. On top of Walker, the Browns are reportedly bringing up WR Jaelon Darden:
Source: #Browns are elevating WR Jaelon Darden and QB P.J. Walker from the practice squad for this week.— Brad Stainbrook (@StainbrookNFL) October 14, 2023
With RB Jerome Ford limited this week and WR Cedric Tillman out, Darden taking returns will keep WR Donovan Peoples-Jones, RB Pierre Strong Jr. and Ford fresh for their primary offensive roles.
The team confirmed what Stainbrook reported:
It is somewhat surprising that Cleveland decided on Darden instead of an offensive lineman. OL Joel Bitonio is out for the game and OL Ethan Pocic is questionable with a couple of injuries. The Browns are left with just James Hudson, Nick Harris and Luke Wypler as backups for Sunday versus San Francisco’s stellar defense.
Teams can only elevate two players each week and each player can only be elevated three times. This would be Walker’s second elevation.