The Cleveland Browns have been dealt a major blow as quarterback Deshaun Watson will miss the remainder of the 2023 season due to a serious shoulder injury. The team announced that Watson will undergo surgery to address a broken bone in his throwing shoulder, which he sustained during the Browns’ recent win against the Baltimore Ravens.
The Injury and Surgery
Watson’s injury occurred during the game against the Ravens, and despite his desire to continue playing, multiple medical opinions confirmed that surgery was necessary to prevent further damage. The quarterback had reportedly pushed to play through the injury but was advised against it due to the risk of his shoulder deteriorating if hit again in the same spot.
Watson’s Season Performance
Before his injury, Watson had been plagued by a series of injuries throughout the season. He missed games in Week 4 and 6 due to a bruised rotator cuff and aggravated the shoulder ailment upon his return in Week 7, forcing him out of the game early. Watson also missed the Browns’ Week 8 game but bounced back with an impressive performance in Week 9, leading the team to a 27-0 victory over the Arizona Cardinals.
In his six starts this season, Watson’s numbers were somewhat average, completing 61.4 percent of his passes for 1,115 yards, seven touchdowns, and four interceptions. Despite this, his leadership on the field was instrumental in the Browns’ success, as they boasted a 5-1 record in games he started.
The Backup Plan
With Watson sidelined, the Browns will turn to veteran backup P.J. Walker as their starting quarterback for the remainder of the season. Walker has made five appearances this season, including two starts, and has completed 49.0 percent of his passes for 618 yards, one touchdown, and five interceptions. Although his numbers have not been outstanding, Walker did lead the team to a road victory over the San Francisco 49ers.
Impact on the Team
The loss of Watson is a significant blow to the Browns’ offense, as he was considered one of their top offensive weapons alongside superstar running back Nick Chubb. With both players now on injured reserve, the team will rely heavily on wide receiver Amari Cooper and running backs Jerome Ford and Kareem Hunt to carry the offensive workload.
Despite the offensive setbacks, the Browns can still count on their talented defense, which currently ranks first in the NFL in total yards allowed per game and sixth in points allowed per game. The defense will play a crucial role in keeping the team competitive as they navigate the remainder of the season without Watson.
The Browns currently sit at a 6-3 record, tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers for second place in the AFC North and just half a game behind the division-leading Baltimore Ravens. The loss of Watson presents a challenge for the team as they fight for a playoff spot. However, with a strong defense and capable backup in Walker, the Browns still have a chance to compete and secure a postseason berth.
The Browns face a tough matchup in Week 11 as they host their division rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers. It will be a crucial game for both teams as they vie for positioning in the division standings. Walker will need to step up and lead the offense, while the defense will have to continue its dominant performance to give the Browns a chance to come out on top.