Joe Flacco, who the Browns signed to the practice squad on November 20 and who hasn’t taken a snap with any team all season, has been elevated to QB2 and is in line to start against the Rams if Dorian Thompson-Robinson does not clear the NFL’s concussion protocol.
That is according to head coach Kevin Stefanski, who revealed the mostly unsurprising news prior to the team’s practice session at UCLA (quote via The Beacon Journal):
“Yeah, we’ll work through that throughout the week. Joe’s the backup this week as Dorian is progressing through the protocol. No reason to make any decisions just yet. We’ll see how it goes.”
Thompson-Robinson left last Sunday’s game against the Denver Broncos after taking a hard shot in the third quarter. He did not practice on Wednesday, and even though he took the starter’s reps the past few weeks, it might be a stretch to get him ready to face the Rams if he can’t practice fully the rest of the week.
Stefanski has also seen enough of P.J. Walker and his proclivity for turning the ball over (five interceptions and two interceptions) to move Flacco up a spot on the depth chart as the Browns are fighting to stay in the AFC playoff race.
Flacco brings plenty of experience to the role as he has made 180 starts in his 15-year career. But he has been in decline since his last season as a full-time starter with the Baltimore Ravens in 2017 and was available so late in the season for a reason.
If (when?) Flacco gets a start with the Browns he will be the fourth quarterback to do so this season, joining Deshaun Watson, Thompson-Robinson and Walker. If that happens and the Browns go on to make the playoffs, they would be the first team to achieve that feat with four starting quarterbacks since the Houston Texans in 2015, who trotted out Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett, TJ Yates and Brandon Weeden during a season that saw them finish 9-7 and lose in the Wild Card round to the Kansas City Chiefs.