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Deshaun Watson expected to start for Browns vs. Colts, plus other updates on notable QB injuries

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There has been more uncertainty over the past two weeks at the QB position across the league than at any other point during the 2023 season with some of the game's biggest names battling through a variety of ailments.

With that in mind, here is a rundown of the most pertinent ones with the latest information on each respective player:

  • Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson is progressing in the right direction and took first-team reps in Saturday's walkthrough, sources say, and Watson is expected to play Sunday against the Colts, barring a setback, for the first time since he suffered bruising around his rotator cuff. Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski said on Friday that Watson "looked good," but that they wanted to see how he responded to a full workload. The team has taken a day-to-day approach, but sources say Watson's shoulder felt good after practicing on consecutive days, which is another positive sign he's trending the right direction. Watson, listed as questionable for Sunday, had said he wouldn't play until he knew for sure he wouldn’t put the team at risk, and he appears to be there.
  • Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields will sit out Sunday's game against the Raiders due to a dislocated thumb on his throwing hand. The good news is that he is not expected to need surgery, and the team has not placed him on injured reserve, which would require him to miss at least four games. Sources say while Fields did have as minimal damage as possible, his thumb injury is considered to be a two-to-three-week injury -- though one source said Fields already is regaining grip strength and shouldn't be entirely ruled out for next week against the Chargers on Oct. 29. For now, it's undrafted rookie Tyson Bagent getting his first NFL start on Sunday in front of a large group of friends and family who made the trip to Chicago. Sources say that Fields has been in the training room around the clock and was in meetings all week helping Bagent -- another sign he intends to be back as soon as possible.
  • Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill is currently in a cast for a high ankle sprain, sources say, an injury that's similar to the injury he suffered last year that necessitated surgery but is not considered as significant. Tannehill is using a cast so he doesn't put weight on his ankle, but he did not opt for surgery this time. While Tannehill hasn't been ruled out for the Titans' Oct. 29 game against the Falcons (Tennessee is on a bye this week), it's unlikely that he will be able to play. Sources say the Titans, who practiced several times this week despite their bye week, are preparing Will Levis and Malik Willis to start if Tannehill is unable to play Week 8. Willis struggled in three starts last season and in relief of Tannehill last week -- which could increase the chances they opt to go with Levis, the No. 33 overall pick in April's draft. As for Tannehill, his injured ankle could be a bit more stable than would be expected, perhaps because of the tight-rope surgery he had December 2022.
  • New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones is not expected to play Sunday against the Commanders, and backup Tyrod Taylor is set to start, sources say, which will mark Jones' second missed game due to a neck injury this season. Jones made positive strides this week, however, participating in practice on a limited basis. As of Saturday afternoon, Jones still had not been cleared for contact. Even if he was, it's rarely beneficial to have a QB play after being limited in practice during the week. The Giants and Jones were hopeful his injury was not a major one, and with his health progressing, that appears to be the case.
  • Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will miss Sunday's game against the Bears, with Brian Hoyer earning the start after a Week 6 win over the Patriots in relief against his former team, sources say. Rookie Aidan O’Connell, who started a game earlier this season when Garoppolo couldn't play due to a concussion, will be the backup. Garoppolo is dealing with what was described by sources as overall back soreness. Garoppolo has not been placed on injured reserve, and head coach Josh McDaniels told reporters the team has said he "dodged a big bullet." There is a real chance Garoppolo is back next week, missing just one start.

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