BEREA, Ohio (AP) Rookie quarterback Connor Shaw will come off Cleveland's practice squad and start the season finale on Sunday against Baltimore.
With Brian Hoyer still slowed by a sore right throwing shoulder, Shaw will be behind center when the Browns (7-8) conclude another disappointing season against the Ravens, who still have a shot at the playoffs.
''I'm excited about it,'' Shaw said following practice. ''It was a good week of practice and I had a lot of support from coaches and teammates and I'm confident going into this game with the game plan. We'll see what happens on Sunday.''
An undrafted free agent, Shaw is the third quarterback to start for the Browns this season and the 22nd for the franchise since 1999.
After learning he'll start, Shaw tweeted: (hash)22.
It's the third straight season and fourth time in five seasons that Cleveland's No. 3 quarterback has started the finale.
Hoyer starter Cleveland's first 13 games before being benched and rookie Johnny Manziel was placed on injured reserve this week after injuring his hamstring last weekend at Carolina in his second start. Hoyer is listed as doubtful for Sunday's game, and if he can't dress, Tyler Thigpen, who was signed earlier this week, will back up Shaw.
Browns coach Mike Pettine said Hoyer has improved, but the team is moving forward with Shaw, who will be facing a notoriously difficult defense with plenty to play for.
''It's a challenge,'' Pettine said. ''You can't sugar coat that. If we can stick to our formula, we still feel good about going down there. ... We would never go into a game thinking we don't need to play as well defensively. That's the formula to win, but the obvious statement is that you're starting an undrafted rookie quarterback.
''I don't think that we're going to look to go down there and try to win one 41-38. It needs to be along the lines of 3-2.''
Shaw went 27-5 in four years with the Gamecocks. He has spent this season on Cleveland's practice squad and running the scout team during practice.
The 23-year-old expects to have some butterflies before kickoff.
''I get a little bit anxious before any game just like any athlete would,'' he said. ''But once you step on the field for the first couple plays it all goes away and it's just playing football like you always have.''
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