QB Scramble

Browns appear in desperate search for a starting quarter for Sunday's finale against Pittsburgh.

With the flurry of moves the Browns have made at the quarterback position the last couple of days, it seemed apparent that Brandon Weeden wasn't going to play against the Steelers in the season finale.

However, neither Weeden or Colt McCoy might play this week.

The Browns promoted Thaddeus Lewis from the practice squad on Monday and then signed Josh Johnson on Wednesday.

McCoy came into the Berea training facility on Monday for treatment on his shoulder. He was sacked four times during his time on the field against the Broncos. On one of the sacks, McCoy fell on and injured Trent Richardson's ankle.

"McCoy told us he was sore and he came in a got treatment," Shurmur said.

He did not practice and neither did Weeden on Wednesday.

Lewis took the snaps with the first team offense and Weeden and McCoy don't play, Lewis would start and Johnson would be the backup.

Shurmur confirmed that the offense would be ‘pared' down, if Lewis starts. Lewis has never played in an NFL regular season game, but if he plays Shurmur has confidence in him.

"Whoever's in there I trust," Shurmur said. "I've had experience with Thad in the past and he hasn't had a lot of opportunities in the regular season games to go in there and play, but if he's in there playing we definitely trust that he'll do a good job."

Lewis has been on the Browns practice squad all season. He played extensively in the preseason and was released in the final cuts before clearing waivers and joining the practice squad.

Johnson, 26, hasn't been with a team since the end of training camp when he was released by the 49ers on Aug. 31. He is 6-3, 205 pounds and played at the University of San Diego.

Johnson was originally a fifth-round draft choice of the Buccaneers in 2008. He spent four seasons in Tampa Bay where he appeared in 26 games with four starts. His career totals are 96-of-177 for 1,042 yards with five touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Four of his starts were in 2009

Shurmur said that both Weeden (shoulder)and Richardson (ankle) were not injured as seriously as they first thought they were. Shurmur didn't rule out Weeden, McCoy or Richardson for the game.

"Time will tell," he said. "If they are healthy and able to go we'll play them Sunday."

If Weeden and McCoy are unable to play it is similar to the way the 2008 season ended when Bruce Gradkowski was signed after not playing the regular season when Derek Anderson, Brady Quinn and Ken Dorsey were knocked out with injuries. Gradkowski was a dismal 5-of-16 for 18 yards with a 1.0 rating as the Browns lost 31-0 to the Steelers. The loss marked the end of the Phil Savage/Romeo Crennel regime with the Browns.

Notebook

Young to IR: The Browns lost their second starting safety to injured reserve as S Usami Young was placed on injured reserve with a thumb injury. S T.J. Ward was placed on injured reserve last week.

S Tashaun Gipson who missed last week's game with a foot injury, returned to practice and barring a setback will start against the Steelers.

It is expected Gipson will play free safety and Eric Hagg will be at strong safety. Ray Ventrone is also available.

Young ends his season with 52 tackles, three interceptions, a fumble recovery and seven passes broken up. He also had 1.5 sacks in 13 games, including 11 starts.

No Go: Wednesday's players that did not practice were: Weeden (shoulder), McCoy (shoulder), Richardson (ankle), Browns (concussion) and TE Jordan Cameron (concussion).

Mabin to Practice Squad: Former Nordonia High School football player, DB Jordan Mabin was signed to the Browns practice squad. He was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the Ravens where he spent two weeks on their practice squad. Mabin (5-11, 185) played collegiately at Northwestern.

Banged up Secondary: Besides losing Ward and Young to the IR, CB Sheldon Brown (concussion) sat out of Wednesday's practice and it is unknown if he'll be cleared to play against the Steelers.

Captain Jabaal: DE Jabaal Sheard was named the fourth captain for the season finale at Pittsburgh. Sheard played his college football at Pitt.

Pro Bowl: The Pro Bowl will be announced on Wednesday evening and Shurmur said he is hoping that K Phil Dawson will be honored among some other Browns players.

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