The Cleveland Browns dealt with an injury to QB Deshaun Watson that led to their blowout loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 4. With a very early bye week, the Browns hope Watson is healthy for Week 6 as the 5-0 San Francisco 49ers, considered by many the best team in the NFL right now, come to town.
Before the season, there was some thought that the Niners would be the one dealing with a quarterback injury but Brock Purdy has picked up right where he left off, undefeated.
After the Niners, Cleveland was set to face Anthony Richardson and the Indianapolis Colts in Week 7. Unfortunately for the Colts, the rookie QB is dealing with a serious shoulder issue that is likely to sideline him for a few weeks including Browns week:
From @GMFB: #Colts QB Anthony Richardson could be heading to Injured Reserve with a Grade 3 AC joint sprain; #Giants QB Daniel Jones has a similar neck contusion as he had in 2021 but not as serious; #Vikings WR Justin Jefferson has a hamstring injury, with tests coming. pic.twitter.com/ebf0Gj0FEi— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 9, 2023
With a rookie QB, Indianapolis brought in a veteran in QB Gardner Minshew to back up Richardson. Barring a quick healing by the rookie or an injury to the veteran, Minshew will start versus Cleveland.
For the season, Richardson is completing 60% of his passes for 577 yards, three TDs and one INT. He has also taken seven sacks while running the ball 25 times for 136 yards and four touchdowns.
Minshew has been solid with a 69% completion rate, 553 yards passing, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. He doesn’t have the mobility of Richardson, just four carries for four yards this year.
While the focus this week will be on the dominant Niners, injuries are piling up around the league which could impact future Browns games as well.