Once upon a time, Matt Schaub was one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL, but the 34-year-old hasn’t made a start in nearly two years and has long since been forgotten by much of the football world.
After losing Joe Flacco to a season-ending knee injury last week, the Ravens have no other choice but to turn to Schaub against the Cleveland Browns on Monday night. Not only does Flacco’s streak of 137 consecutive starts (counting the postseason) officially come to an end, but Schaub will become the first not named Flacco to start at quarterback for the Ravens since Troy Smith on Dec. 30, 2007, which marked the final game for both Hall of Fame left tackle Jonathan Ogden and Super Bowl XXXV winning coach Brian Billick.
Of course, Flacco headlines a list of season-ending injuries to key Baltimore starters that includes wide receivers Steve Smith and Breshad Perriman, linebacker Terrell Suggs, running back Justin Forsett, and center Jeremy Zuttah. To make matters worse, the Ravens will be without starting left tackle Eugene Monroe (shoulder) and left guard Kelechi Osemele (knee) against the Browns after both were listed as doubtful on the final injury report.
James Hurst will start at left tackle while Ryan Jensen will receive his second straight start in place of the injured Osemele, leaving little experience protecting Schaub’s blindside in his first start since Dec. 29, 2013, his final game with the Houston Texans.
Former Browns running back and Towson standout Terrance West is active and will play in his first game for his hometown team. The 2014 third-round pick is expected to back up rookie Buck Allen, who is making his first NFL start in place of the injured Forsett.
As expected, second-year defensive end Brent Urban will make his NFL debut after being activated from the injured reserve list late last week. Urban suffered a torn biceps in early August and was placed on IR with the designation to return at the start of the season. The 2014 fourth-round pick missed his entire rookie season due to a knee injury suffered early in his first training camp.
With Urban active, rookie defensive lineman Carl Davis is a healthy scratch for the first time this season after seeing his playing time decrease in recent weeks.
Rookie wide receiver Daniel Brown and rookie guard Kaleb Johnson are also active after being promoted to the 53-man roster from the practice squad earlier in the day.
As expected, third-year receiver Marlon Brown was deactivated with a back injury.
The Browns are dealing with their own share of injuries as cornerback Joe Haden, starting guard Joel Bitonio, and wide receivers Andrew Hawkins and Taylor Gabriel were among their inactives. The recently-demoted Johnny Manziel is active, however, and will serve as Cleveland’s No. 3 quarterback behind new starter Josh McCown and backup Austin Davis.
Monday night’s referee will be Brad Allen.
According to Weather.com, the Monday night forecast in Cleveland calls for cloudy skies and temperatures in the mid-40s with winds up to nine miler per hour.
Baltimore will wear white jerseys with black pants while the Browns sport brown jerseys with orange pants for their rare nationally-televised home game.
Monday marks the 34th overall meeting between these AFC North foes with Baltimore holding a 24-9 advantage. However, the Browns are seeking their first season sweep of the Ravens since 2007, which also happened to be Baltimore’s last losing season.
Ogden, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs, and Flacco are arguably the best — or at least the most important — players in franchise history, but Monday marks the first time the Ravens ever play a game without any of them on the field.
Below are Monday night’s inactives:
WR Marlon Brown
CB Tray Walker
CB Cassius Vaughn
OT Eugene Monroe
G Kelechi Osemele
DT Carl Davis
DE Kapron Lewis-Moore
WR Andrew Hawkins
WR Taylor Gabriel
CB Joe Haden
CB Pierre Desir
S Don Jones
G Joel Bitonio
DL Randy Starks