Baker Mayfield owns the Cleveland Browns’ starting QB spot, but the chance to determine who backs up the second-year veteran should be determined in camp.
The Cleveland Browns own the north shore. Need proof? Many of us, including myself, obsess over the backup quarterback situation in the event Baker Mayfield gets injured.
Entering the offseason, I advocated for an upgrade at the backup quarterback position because the season shouldn’t go to waste if Mayfield goes down.
Drew Stanton is a solid backup, but is he the guy you want a heart beat away from taking snaps? His stats are awful, except for one: The Michigan State product is 11-6 as a starter.
Glance at his numbers, and the win-loss mark seems inexplicable. The veteran has a 52.4 percent completion rate, while throwing for 20 touchdowns against 24 career interceptions. However, here’s the buzz phrase you’ve been waiting for: He manages the game.
The Browns have weapons in Nick Chubb and Duke Johnson (for now) coming out of the backfield and Kareem Hunt (suspension) is on-track to re-join the team halfway through the season. Perhaps a game manager who can get enough passes out to his Odell Beckham Jr.-led receiving corps can lean on his running game to finish the job.
Or, Garrett Gilbert can ball out in the preseason and make a case for the backup role.
Mayfield’s only expected to play a series, or maybe 10 plays once the exhibition games commence, so we’ll be seeing plenty of Gilbert and David Blough. Stanton, 35, isn’t even expected to play that much in the preseason, according to Cleveland.com’s Terry Pluto.
This doesn’t come as much a surprise. By this time, everyone knows what Stanton can and can’t do.
Gilbert is an intriguing player because the unofficial MVP of the now defunct Alliance of American Football Conference. The AAF was basically constructed of players who popped up in the third and fourth quarters of preseason games.
Around the rumor mill, the Browns are reportedly curious about Gilbert, according to Pluto. The 28-year-old balled out playing against guys who are fighting to get on NFL rosters..so he should be able to do the same when called into duty in the third quarter of the Great Lakes Classic, right?
Stanton’s biggest job on the team figures to be his continued role of mentoring Mayfield. He was given a lot of credit for offering guidance during the former Heisman winner’s rookie campaign.
Cleveland should be looking for a guy who can light a spark should he be called into duty, a la Kelly Holcomb back in the day. If Gilbert has that ability, we should be able to see a glimmer of hit in the preseason.
Perhaps I’m a crazy optimist, but I’m curious in Gilbert too, knowing full well he’s been cut by five teams and has thrown a grand total of three career passes (all for Carolina last season).
Blough will be interesting to watch, as well. He was the quarterback of the Purdue squad that upset the Buckeyes last season. His biggest problem is arm strength.