The Cleveland Browns have been impressed with the increased arm strength of former South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw.
Shaw is competing with veteran Thaddeus Lewis to be the third QB on the Browns roster, behind Josh McCown and Johnny Manziel.
Since his Week 17 start against the Baltimore Ravens this past season, the Browns have seen substantial improvement from their second-year quarterback, according to clevelandbrowns.com. Shaw’s velocity on throws 15-25 yards down the field has been much better.
“That’s something from a mechanics standpoint I know (quarterbacks coach Kevin O’Connell) has been working hard with him,” coach Mike Pettine said. “When your feet are right, you can generate a lot more force on the ball and drive it. Anytime you’re throwing outside the numbers, you really have to drive the football and that’s been a point of emphasis with Connor.”
Shaw is gunning for a permanent spot on the 53-man roster. He feels more comfortable with the little things, such as terminology, knowing how to adjust offensive line protections and diagramming plays on the whiteboard.
“You get a year under your belt and you feel like you have a much better grasp of what you are doing,” Shaw told the site. “It is amazing how much faster you play when you actually know what is going on.”
Shaw won over his teammates following the Ravens game. Playing with a rib injury and a dislocated finger, Shaw didn’t think about leaving the field.
“I would’ve had to had a broken leg or something – and even then, they’d have to carry me,” Shaw said. “The way I performed, it kind of opened eyes and it earned a level of respect in the locker room.”
Shaw said McCown has “taken on the role of really helping me and Johnny, and even Thad. It’s really good to have someone that’s played so long and understands the game in and out. He’s really been beneficial to us.”
When the Browns play the Redskins on Thursday, it will be a familiar opponent for Shaw. The South Carolina alum went 8-for-9 for 123 yards and a touchdown last preseason at FedEx Field.