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Monday, December 11, 2023

Browns QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson shines in comeback win over Jets in Hall of Fame Game

“That’s all instincts,” Thompson-Robinson said of the block. “I’m out there playing as hard as I can for my teammates. Coach Stefanski and (offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt) always preach to run through the football, even on the offensive side of the ball and being able to pick your brother up, so that’s kind of what that was.

“I saw Felt was going to cut back and kind of how the hole was going to open up, and all he had was one person to beat backside, which was the corner. So I figured I’d stick my nose in there real quick.”

Two drives later, DTR rifled a dart to Austin Watkins Jr. for a 22-yard touchdown. The rookie said he knew the play would be open after the Browns ran the same play with Mond in the first half.

“Yeah, that’s just really coming after watching the first half. Kellen got a few looks that I had gotten in the second half, so, just remembering those and remembering where I can go with the ball and move my eyes to manipulate players,” he told Wyche. “I think it’s just a part of my growth and a part of my learning process right now.”

That’s precisely what you want to hear from a rookie quarterback. The ability to see something, digest it and use that information in a game.

Yes, it was a preseason contest — the first one in which very few regulars participated. Yes, DTR was playing against players who likely won’t make the Jets’ initial 53-man roster. Yes, it doesn’t count for much.

Thompson-Robinson did exactly what you’d want from a late-round rookie quarterback. He walked through those third- and fourth-string defenders. He looked like he belonged.

Many young QBs struggle early in the preseason with a million things flying around. DTR, having started 48 games at UCLA, looked calm and knew where to go with the ball. Obviously, there are things to clean up and fundamental to his game and motion he’ll have to develop, but the foundation is there for DTR to earn a gig.

No one is suggesting he’s unseating Deshaun Watson next week. No one is suggesting he’s even an heir. But DTR showed he can play. Now he has to do it again in the final three games of the preseason to cement his spot on the Browns’ roster.

“I hope it did a lot for me,” DTR told Wyche, smiling. “I’m hoping for more to come in the future for sure.”

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