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Thompson-Robinson: My second start will be ‘night and day’ from my first

Dorian Thompson-Robinson has promised a ‘night and day’ second start after struggling in his first as he looks to fill in for Deshaun Watson for the Cleveland Browns.

Watson’s season is over after sustaining a shoulder injury in the 33-31 comeback win over the Baltimore Ravens last weekend, with the fracture enough to leave the former Houston Texans man on injured reserve.

In an interesting move, the Browns announced the starter in Watson’s absence would be rookie Thompson-Robinson, not PJ Walker, who led Cleveland to back-to-back victories while Watson was out for a stretch in October.

Thompson-Robinson struggled in his only previous start, throwing three interceptions and sacked four times as the Browns offense put up a paltry three points against their AFC North rivals Baltimore Ravens, eventually losing 28-3.

Thompson-Robinson believes he is a much-improved player since then and will be able to deliver this weekend against the Pittsburgh Steelers, promising a “night and day” performance from his first start.

“I know what to expect now,” Thompson-Robinson told reporters on Thursday. “I’m not stepping out there for the first time. [I’m] not going out there wide-eyed anymore.

“I know what it takes now to be an NFL quarterback, not just a college quarterback. I think I’ve taken that next step.”

Head coach Kevin Stefanski is backing Thompson-Robinson to show an improved display, saying: “That was a tough spot that he was in [his first start].

“I think this week, having a full week of preparation, knowing that he’s going to be the starter, I think is important.”

Sunday’s home game with the 6-3 Steelers could prove huge for the Browns’ playoff hopes, currently tied with Pittsburgh at 6-3 but behind on the tiebreaker because of a 26-22 defeat back in September.

Thompson-Robinson knows the importance of the game, explaining: “You have to win.

“It’s a must-win game. Not only just for this week but for our future, what we’re trying to get to and the goals we’re trying to get to. So it’s a big game.

“At the end of the day, if I go out there and follow my rules, I’ll be all right.”

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