With Matt Schaub sidelined for Ravens, Seahawks may face Jimmy Clausen... again

With Schaub missing both Wednesday and Thursday's practices with a sore knee and shoulder, the Seahawks could face the same quarterback - Clausen - they beat earlier in the year when he was a member of the Chicago Bears.

With the Minnesota Vikings losing 23-20 to the Arizona Cardinals Thursday night, the Seahawks can swoop into the fifth seed of the NFC playoff hunt with a win Sunday over the Baltimore Ravens.

A Seattle win seems likelier with Baltimore potentially down to their third string quarterback. Jimmy Clausen, who the Seahawks beat while he was a member of the Chicago Bears, has taken the first team snaps the past two days with normal Ravens' backup Matt Schaub nursing a sore knee and shoulder.

Frankly, it shouldn't matter much who the Ravens trot out at quarterback. Neither Clausen nor Schaub possesses big arm and poise that Joe Flacco demonstrated for the Ravens prior to his suffering a season-ending knee injury Nov. 22.

Seahawks defensive coordinator Kris Richard, at least, doesn't think it matters.

"It's always going to be about us," Richars said Thursday when asked if Seattle's plan of attack would change based on who the Ravens started at quarterback.

"They're going to put whoever out there that they feel the most confident with, and they're going to have a gameplan to try to attack us. So that's all it's really going to come down to."

The Ravens have been hit extraordinarily hard by injuries this season with Flacco joining edge rusher Terrell Suggs, running back Justin Forsett and wide receiver Steve Smith in suffering season-ending injuries.

That has left the Ravens lacking healthy talent, especially on offense.

Schaub helped lead the Ravens to a win two weeks ago in his first start in Baltimore. He was significantly aided by a blocked field goal attempt by the hapless Cleveland Browns in the final seconds, which was returned for Baltimore's go-ahead score. He threw two interceptions in that contest - including a pick-six and achieved the same dubious honor of two picks, including one returned for a touchdown last week in a loss to the Miami Dolphins 

And, remember, he's the preferred option for the Ravens.

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh indicated this week that he felt comfortable enough with Schaub to start him even if he missed all week of practice. For his part, Schaub has said he expects to play.

With Clausen getting the reps and perhaps even more familiar with offensive coordinator Marc Trestman's scheme due to their shared time together in Chicago, he would appear to be the more likely choice for the Ravens on Sunday.

Richard said the Seahawks won't gain much for having played against Clausen earlier in the year.

"Different team, different offense, doesn't really apply much," Richard said. "They're going to have a particular game plan for him, what they feel comfortable with him running, and that's obviously going to be stuff that we haven't seen yet."

It is worth reviewing how poorly Clausen performed in Seattle's 26-0 thumping of the Bears in Week Three. Clausen completed nine of 17 passes in that game for a total of 63 yards.


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