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Browns starting PJ Walker at QB vs. Seahawks with Deshaun Watson working through shoulder injury

PJ Walker is back in the starting saddle for the Cleveland Browns.

Coach Kevin Stefanski announced Wednesday that Walker will start Sunday's game in Seattle in place of Deshaun Watson, who didn't practice on Wednesday after being knocked out of Cleveland's Week 7 win in Indianapolis.

"PJ's going to start this week. Deshaun is going to focus on his rehab," the coach said.

The decision comes with little surprise. Watson returned to the lineup last week after missing two games due to a bruised rotator cuff. The starter didn't make it through an entire quarter, getting hurt again on a hit. Before exiting, Watson didn't look right at all, offering no zip on his passes and little confidence. He completed 1 of 5 passes for five yards with an interception (and was lucky his final throw wasn't picked off).

Rather than test their luck by throwing Watson back into the fire again, the Browns will let him rest.

"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. As I've told you guys, I will always make what I think are the best decisions for our football team, for Deshaun, and I feel like this is the best decision for this week."

Watson initially hurt his shoulder in Week 3 against the Tennessee Titans.

NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero reported Tuesday that Watson underwent a new MRI on his shoulder, revealing no additional damage. However, Watson is dealing with a strain in his subscapularis muscle, which causes pain and weakness in the rotator cuff.

The prescription for Watson: rest.

In the meantime, Walker will take the reins under center. The Browns signed the QB to the 53-man roster Wednesday after using his three practice squad elevation allotments. The veteran started Week 6's win over San Francisco and took over Sunday's victory over the Colts.

On the season, Walker has thrown three INTs with zero TDs on 33-of-66 passing for 370 total passing yards. The Browns' offense lacks upside with Walker under center, but he's a reliable veteran who can run Stefanski's scheme.

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