The Ravens portrayed the decision to start Clausen over Matt Schaub as one driven by Schaub’s sore shoulder.
I’m sure they don’t want anyone to think they might keep Schaub on the bench to avoid paying the entire $1 million bonus he’s owed if he plays 10 percent of the team’s snaps (Schaub might already have enough snaps to earn his money).
Honestly though, Clausen has been better the past two weeks than Schaub was in his two starts. He puts more zip on his intermediate throws , and on Sunday, he also ran effectively when the Chiefs forced him from the pocket.
For a pure emergency signing, he’s been pretty good, posting the two most productive games of his career in his two starts for the Ravens.
“He made a bunch of plays with his feet, with his arm,” coach John Harbaugh said. “He operated really well with the offense. I thought he did a good job.”
Clausen did throw a pick-six (the play Schaub is infamous for), but wide receiver Daniel Brown fell down on his route, so Clausen wasn’t really to blame. He made one genuinely bad throw on a garbage-time interception.
The Ravens won’t learn anything by playing Schaub the rest of the way. I could see why they’d want to give Ryan Mallet a start, assuming he learns Marc Trestman’s offense quickly enough. He has the physical gifts to be an asset playing behind Joe Flacco in 2016.
But if Harbaugh’s decision comes down to putting the best player on the field, Clausen has at least earned the right to start next Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers.