With QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson officially ruled out for Sunday's matchup against the Rams, Joe Flacco will start at quarterback for the Browns.
Flacco took first-team reps with the offense throughout the week of practice in Los Angeles, growing comfortable in the offense and calling plays in the huddle. Flacco has been focusing on the game plan since he came to the Browns to become as familiar as he could in a short amount of time. Yet, the practice reps have proved beneficial to get back in the rhythm of calling plays and hearing the specific terminology.
HC Kevin Stefanski said that Flacco has a good grasp of their system and what they are trying to do offensively. Stefanski has spent time in the meeting room this week with Flacco and OC Alex Van Pelt to help make sure that Flacco is comfortable and to talk through the system.
"So, he's worked very hard to put himself in position to go in that huddle and spit the play out and then operate at the line of scrimmage," Stefanski said on Friday. "He's put in a lot of work in."
Van Pelt said that seeing Flacco in practice and how he stepped into the huddle to call plays, as well as how he threw the ball with accuracy and velocity, solidified to Van Pelt just what Flacco has left in the tank.
"As a passer, he is exactly that," Van Pelt said. "He's a pure passer, makes all the throws, has the arm strength to push the ball down the field and is accurate at all levels."
Flacco's 16 years of NFL experience in different offensive systems will help him as he takes the field for the first time at the helm of the Browns offense on Sunday. Stefanski said that while there are common threads between different offensive systems, there are certain nuances to specific systems. That's what he's spent extra time reviewing and understanding.
When Flacco first took the field for Wednesday's practice — even through he's been through a number of Wednesday practices — he wanted it to go well. And he felt like it did, which gave him a sense of excitement about being on the practice field with the Browns.
"There's not too many things that are better in the world than just playing good sound football and feeling good about it," Flacco said. "That's what winning is all about. It's about doing it with your teammates and enjoying that experience. You miss that."
As the Browns handled their quarterback uncertainty throughout the week, Flacco still stuck to his same approach of taking it day by day. He went through each practice with that mindset, taking the time to prepare and show what he can bring to the table.
"I love playing this game and anytime an opportunity kind of presents itself, you just got to be patient and see what's in store for you," Flacco said on Thursday.
He'll get that opportunity on Sunday when he suits up for the Browns.