Less than two weeks after the Cleveland Browns signed Joe Flacco as an insurance policy, the team may need to start him against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 13 as injuries continue to mount for them at quarterback. Flacco, who last played for the New York Jets in 2022, was signed to the Browns practice squad on November 20th and elevated to the active roster on Wednesday.
With rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson in concussion protocol, Flacco is taking reps with the starters in practice and is line to start against the Rams on Sunday.
With Browns’ QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson now in concussion protocol, Joe Flacco has been taking snaps as Cleveland’s QB1 in practice and could start Sunday vs. the Rams.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 29, 2023
Thompson-Robinson, or DTR, has been Cleveland’s third option at quarterback already with usual starter Deshaun Watson out for the season due to a shoulder injury. Former backup P.J. Walker was struggling so badly that head coach Kevin Stefanski no longer trusts him to fill in. Flacco surpassed Walker on the depth chart in less than 10 days of being on the roster.
Flacco, a former Super Bowl champion and zero-time Pro Bowler, last opened a season as starter with the Denver Broncos in 2019. But just as he was the year before in Baltimore with Lamar Jackson, Flacco was out as a starter in Denver by the second half of the season. He spent 2020-2022 as a backup on the New York Jets and was a free agent this year until last week.
Flacco started four games for the Jets in 2022 and had a passer rating of 75.2.
Despite all of the injuries at QB, the Browns are not out of the playoff race in the AFC. In fact, if the season ended today, Cleveland would hold the second of three wild card berths. The Browns desperately need this win and have one of the top defenses in the NFL, but injuries to Watson, Nick Chubb, and now Myles Garrett threaten Cleveland’s chances to make the playoffs for the second time since 2003.
Those hopes could rest on Joe Flacco.