Dorian Thompson-Robinson earned rave reviews after his NFL debut last week.
His performance leaves little doubt that the Cleveland Browns rookie is a bonafide professional football player.
But that doesn’t mean his former UCLA colleagues and coaches aren’t paying attention.
And Thompson-Robinson’s college head coach is among those happy to see his former player’s early success.
Chip Kelly told Los Angeles Times beat reporter Ben Bolch:
Chip Kelly on DTR's NFL debut: "I hope he doesn’t continue to be a lead blocker on plays because we’ve got to keep him healthy, but I was happy for him. And it was funny because it was him and Felton back together, so it was good to see those two guys excel in the first game."
— Ben Bolch (@latbbolch) August 4, 2023
“”I hope he doesn’t continue to be a lead blocker on plays because we’ve got to keep him healthy, but I was happy for him. And it was good to see those two guys (DTR and former UCLA running back Demetric Felton) excel in the first game.”
As a head coach, Kelly was obligated to throw some water on DTR’s third-quarter block that helped spring Felton.
Thompson-Robinson threw himself at the Jets’ cornerback, slowing him down just enough for Felton to score.
Felton was on the field alongside his former Bruins teammate for most of the second half.
And the pair kept the defense guessing with motion and play-action to complete a come-from-behind victory.
What About DTR’s Current Coach?
Thompson-Robinson is sure to make note of Kelly’s gracious comments.
But what did Kevin Stefanski think about his performance?
Stefanski initially pointed out the plays DTR made with his feet.
DTR rushed or scrambled 6 times for 36 yards, and his scrambles showed good instinct and pocket awareness.
He also hit Austin Watkins Jr quickly enough to let the receiver zip upfield between defenders for a touchdown.
#Browns rookie QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson just led a 93-yard TD drive — and it ended with him becoming a lead blocker!
DTR doing a little bit of everything.
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) August 4, 2023
But in his Friday press conference, Stefanski alluded to success in another important facet.
Thompson-Robinson simply managed the game well, with no botched snaps, missed reads, or signs of confusion.
He was ready for the moment, perhaps the result of an extended college career and resulting maturity.
His roster spot was never really threatened, but his performance closed the door on a possible Kellen Mond challenge.
And despite a guaranteed contract, Joshua Dobbs might wonder how long his QB-2 reign continues.