Not even a full 72 hours after the Cleveland Browns’ biggest win of the 2023 season, expectations that was on the rise crashed right into Brownie the Elf’s face in midfield of their home stadium.
Deshaun Watson, who has battled injuries throughout this season, has been ruled out for the rest of the year with a fracture in his throwing shoulder. If only the Browns had a quarterback like Josh Dobbs to take over and potentially lead the team to the playoffs. . .
Unfortunately for the Browns, they have decided twice to remove Dobbs from their roster in the past two years. In 2022, he was Jacoby Brissett’s backup while Watson served his NFL-issued suspension for a series of sexual misconduct allegations. Once Watson became eligible to play, the Browns cut Dobbs.
In March, they re-signed Dobbs to a one-year, $2 million contract. He made two respectable starts for the Tennessee Titans at the end of the 2022 season. With Kyler Murray unavailable until mid-season, the Arizona Cardinals took a swing and acquired Dobbs from the Browns for a 2024 fifth-round draft pick.
Dobbs took a stellar innings in his seventh NFL season. He is currently starting for the Minnesota Vikings – his fifth different team since November 2022. They’ve won both games he’s been on the roster, and the Browns have to hope that either rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson or PJ Walker can lead the team with the best defense in the NFL to the playoff games. They are go with Thompson-Robinson on Sunday.
There is no way for NFL teams to plan for their starting quarterback to miss most of a season. The goal teams usually have for a backup quarterback is for him to steady the offense for a few weeks while the starter heals. In 2019, Patrick Mahomes has two games for the Kansas City Chiefs with a dislocated patella. Matt Moore stepped in and the Chiefs went 1-1 en route to the franchise’s first Super Bowl championship in 50 years.
Watson has dealt with injuries throughout this season, and even when he’s been healthy, Dobbs has largely outplayed him. Dobbs has a better Total QBR, has thrown just one more interception than Watson despite playing in four more games than him, and is a serious rushing threat with 62 rushing attempts — nearly 40 more than Watson.
The Browns’ Week 10 win against the Baltimore Ravens was arguably Watson’s best game since signing that five-year fully guaranteed contract. He passed for 213 yards, a touchdown and his 16-yard scramble in the fourth quarter was the biggest play during their game-winning drive.
Dobbs has only been on the Vikings’ roster since October 31st. In Week 10, he passed for more yards and didn’t turn the ball over, while Watson opened the game with a pick-six, had a better completion percentage and averaged more yards per pass attempt.
With eight weeks left in the regular season, both the Vikings and the Browns are currently in the playoffs. However, Minnesota has a firm hold on its wild card spot, while Cleveland teams like the Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills.
Giving up that fifth-round pick from the Cardinals in exchange for Dobbs would have been difficult for Cleveland. That’s valuable draft capital for a player the Browns didn’t even expect to take the field this season. However, just hours before the trade, head coach Kevin Stefanski announced that Dobbs had won the backup job over Walker and Thompson-Robinson.
Dobbs has clearly impressed the coaching staff over the past two seasons. This season, with limited time to learn two new offenses, he was able to play proper football. If the Browns still had Dobbs, their outlook for the rest of the season would be much better than it is now.