Baltimore Ravens can’t look past Connor Shaw, Browns


Jul 28, 2014; Berea, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Connor Shaw (9) during training camp at Cleveland Browns training facility. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Ravens fans laughed about the prospect of playing Case Keenum and Johnny Manziel in the last two weeks of the season. Maybe the Ravens themselves did too. Any arrogance was misplaced, though, as the Ravens lost to the Case Keenum led Texans. There are now reports that Connor Shaw might start this week for the Cleveland Browns.

I don’t care. It could be Johnny Manziel, Peyton Manning, Connor Shaw or Brett Favre coming out of retirement, and it wouldn’t matter. No matter the quarterback they’re playing, the Ravens need to right their own ship first, because the only team to beat the Ravens this year has been the team in purple and black.

There were no moral victories this year for the Ravens in their six losses. Each one came with the knowledge that the Ravens played like absolute garbage. The list of quarterbacks to beat the Ravens this year has some stars, but it also has some hacks: Andy Dalton (twice), Ben Roethlisberger, Andrew Luck, Philip Rivers and Case Keenum. Dalton and Keenum are not good quarterbacks, so don’t get cocky with Connor Shaw the probable starter for the Browns.

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Specifically, the Ravens secondary has made some pretty bad quarterbacks look disturbingly competent. Start with Brian Hoyer, who picked apart the Ravens for 290 yards on just 25 attempts. Andy Dalton, a turnover machine, completed just under 70 percent of his passes for an 8.6 yard average against the Ravens this year while accounting for three touchdowns. He also only threw one pick in those two games. Even Case Keenum put together some good drives, even though his stat line was abysmal.

Connor Shaw might not be a big name, but he can make the Ravens pay if they come out arrogant. He avoids turnovers, having thrown just one interception in his Senior season, is an efficient scrambler and is as tough as it gets. Even if Shaw doesn’t torch the Ravens’ secondary, he has the tools to help the Browns win.

And note, there is no guarantee Shaw will get the start. Hoyer may very well be healthy enough to play.  To this point, the Browns have been coy about disclosing the extent of his injury. Hoyer already torched the Ravens once this year and could very well do so again.

Based on the Ravens’ lackadaisical level of play against the Texans, there is a good chance they thought they had the win all wrapped up. If that’s the case, their arrogance was their undoing. They can’t afford to make the same mistake against Cleveland regardless of who starts at quarterback.

Next: Ravens vs Texans: What We Learned