When Flacco takes the field at SoFi Stadium, he will be the fourth quarterback to start a game for the Browns this season, following Deshaun Watson (on injured reserve with a broken shoulder), P.J. Walker (sidelined by continued ineffectiveness) and rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson.
A big part of why the Browns are down to Flacco, who was at home all season until the Browns gave him a call in late November, is because Thompson-Robinson spent the week in the league-mandate concussion protocol instead of on the practice field preparing for the Rams.
Thompson-Robinson was knocked out of last week’s game against the Denver Broncos in the third quarter thanks to a hit from Denver outside linebacker Baron Browning that drew a roughing the passer penalty.
Earlier this week Browning continued to profess that he did nothing more than make a normal football play and said he did not expect to be fined for the hit (quote via the Denver Gazette):
“I knew I hit him with my shoulder in his chest. I knew it was a clean hit, so I didn’t have any worry there. … I knew I pulled up a little bit. There could have been a way bigger collision but I pulled up a little bit. I made sure I put my shoulder across his chest.”
On Saturday the NFL, which has put in numerous rules in recent years to protect players, agreed and will not fine Browning for the hit.
Baron Browning not fined by the league for his hit on #Browns QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson. Browning was surprised he got penalized. The next play, Denver recovered a fumble. Browning did not believe he deserved a fine. League agreed. #Denver7 #Broncos— Troy Renck (@TroyRenck) December 2, 2023
The Browns officially ruled out Thompson-Robison on Friday after he did not practice all week.