The Cleveland Browns are nothing if not consistent.
If Connor Shaw starts, it will be the third year in a row and fourth time in the last five seasons the Browns will have started their third quarterback in the season finale.
Johnny Manziel has a significant hamstring injury that will not allow him to play and Hoyer has a significant shoulder injury that, though not structural, could keep him from playing.
That would leave Shaw, promoted from the practice squad this week.
Nothing has been determined, and Hoyer will try to play. But he probably would have left the game in Carolina on Sunday after he was drilled into the ground by 315-pound defensive lineman Kawann Short if the Browns had a third quarterback active.
Short landed on Hoyer, and he was feeling the effects after the game.
So the Browns quarterback situation looks like this:
Manziel out with what sounds like a severe hamstring pull or perhaps even tear (the Browns never specify on injuries). Manziel has erased none of the criticisms of him heading into the draft. Among them: Too short. Can’t read defenses. Looks to run. Runs the risk of injury because he runs. In the end, Manziel did not read defenses well, looked to run too often and was injured -- though he said his injury was caused when he slipped on a third-down throw to Josh Gordon. The sample size to judge Manziel is miniscule, but in the sample size he was given, he provided few answers.
Hoyer dealing with facing a Ravens defense with a bum shoulder. He will try to play -- it’s his nature -- and the Browns are treating Hoyer as day-to-day. If he improves enough as the week goes on, Hoyer will play. But given his impending free agency, he has to measure the risk/reward. The Browns' plan for their quarterbacks following the season remains an unknown.
Shaw, highly thought of by South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier, has done the grunt work with the scout team much of the season as a practice squad quarterback. Browns coach Mike Pettine said all the right things about Shaw’s work ethic and preparation, but asking him to play in a game where the Ravens have the playoffs on the line is a tough task. Then again, Houston signed Case Keenum last week and he led the Texans to a win over the Ravens.
So ... there’s that.