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P.J. Walker named starting QB for Week 8 against Seahawks

QB Deshaun Watson will go through rehab process this week and rest on Sunday

Walker starting Week 8

HC Kevin Stefanski announced on Wednesday that P.J. Walker will start at quarterback against the Seahawks in Week 8.

Stefanski said that Watson is dealing with some residual swelling in his shoulder after he took a hit in the first quarter of Sunday's game against the Colts. Watson also hit his head on the play and was evaluated for a concussion and was cleared; however, he did not play the remainder of the game. Watson will focus on his rehab throughout the week, and then rest on Sunday.

"I just feel like with what happened in the game landing on his shoulder, there's residual swelling that's affecting his throwing," Stefanski said. "I think it's the best thing for him to rest this week and focus on the rehab. I will always make what I think is the best decision for our football team, for Deshaun, and I feel like this is the best decision for this week."

Stefanski said on Wednesday that there is no structural damage; but based on the MRI, there is residual swelling, which is why Stefanski wanted Watson to focus on rehab.

Prior to the hit on Sunday, Stefanski said that Watson was progressing in the right direction after taking steps last week to being a full participant in practice on Friday. Stefanski did not like that Watson was hit right on the shoulder, and the coming out of Sunday with swelling, he believed it wasn't in Watson's best interest to practice this week.

"He's trying like crazy," Stefanski said. "This is not for lack of effort. He's making every effort he can to be out there, but with the hit he took, I just felt like, and with the swelling makes the most sense to focus on rehab this week and then he'll be out there as soon as he's ready."

Stefanski said that while Watson will rehab this week, the plan is to have him travel with the team to Seattle for their Week 8 matchup.

"He's going to do everything he can to support his teammates," Stefanski said. "He's a captain of the team. He provides great leadership, so he wants very badly to play, but just this week it makes sense to focus on the rehab."

The Browns signed Walker to the active roster on Wednesday. Walker had been elevated from the practice squad the three previous games and has thrown for 370 yards in two games with one start. Stefanski said that in Walker's two games at quarterback, he's liked how Walker has operated in getting their offense in and out of plays. He's also made some big plays when the Browns needed him to.

Stefanski also said that QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson will be the backup quarterback this week against the Seahawks. They will use the week of practice to continue their preparation and rely on one another as a unit. Even with Watson resting this week, his presence in the quarterback room will be important in the game prep.

"I'm so impressed with those guys," Stefanski said. "I've been in a lot of those rooms. This one, they really support each other. They push each other game day. They're there for each other and I think that's the point of playing football – playing offensive football, defense, you name it – but you need each other. You need your coaches in that room, you need that support and I think Deshaun provides a great amount of that to those guys."