The Cleveland Browns Baker Mayfield has had a relatively uneventful offseason so far but his arch-rival Colin Cowherd just can’t leave him be.
On Wednesday’s show, Colin Cowherd continued his one-man media war against Cleveland Browns player Baker Mayfield by outright stating that he’s an average quarterback on the level of Case Keenum. Just with a bigger arm. The basis for his argument? Stats from the last three years.
Gee, that doesn’t seem like a distorted view that won’t tell everyone the whole story. It’s almost like Cowherd is pushing a narrative just to be right in his assessment that Mayfield was un-draftable. Something he continually denies saying.
Let’s go to the stats.
Firstly, Mayfield didn’t even play in 2017. He was still in Oklahoma. Keenum had his best statistical year in 2017, throwing 22 touchdowns, and 7 interceptions with 3,547 yards total passing. Solid effort.
Yet, Cowherd is comparing two years of Mayfield to Keenum’s three years. He claims it was to try and get to X-amount of games so they’re equal but they’re not. Mayfield started 29 games in his first two years, and Keenum started 38 in his first three. Take out his 14 starts in 2017, and Keenum has started 24 games. A difference of five games is a lot smaller than a difference of nine.
So what does Keenum stats look like without that stellar 2017 year? Well, he had 5,597 yards passing, 29 touchdowns, and 20 interceptions. Keenum also only had seven wins, compared to Mayfield’s 12.
So the numbers are cleary in Mayfield’s advantage. Cowherd misrepresented stats to win an argument.
That’s not to trash Keenum, he’s played well and doesn’t make a lot of mistakes, because he doesn’t take risks. That’s where things differ greatly between the two. Keenum doesn’t make plays downfield. He’s not a deep ball thrower and isn’t someone who can win you a game. Sure, he had that one playoff game where a Saint’s defensive back biffed what would have been a game-ending play, but that’s not his style. Keenum averaged 10.7 yards per completion, while Mayfield has a 12.0 stat over that same span. Mayfield has far more touchdowns, total yards and even had a better year completing passes in 2018 than Keenum did comparatively.
Sure, his numbers in 2019 weren’t as impressive but a quarterback can only do so much with no offensive line and a bad head coach. Just look at Peyton Manning’s rookie year or Drew Brees’ first few years. Brees was useless as a quarterback until his FOURTH year in the league. Yet you have Cowherd making outlandish comparisons and Max Kellerman saying things like Mayfield is on the verge of being a bust.
Do these men not pay attention to performances? Mayfield is easily a top-15 or a top-20 quarterback through his first two years. No other Browns quarterback could really say that since Bernie Kozar. If you augment the numbers and make bold claims, sure you can make it look like Mayfield is a mid-level quarterback at best or a bust at worst. Yet, if you look at the actual evidence and the fact that he’s on his fourth head coach in three years, I think you can accept that stats only tell part of the story.
Mayfield is a better option than Keenum, he’s far from a bust and he’s already one of the greatest quarterbacks the Browns have ever seen statistically speaking. Maybe that’s a slight against the franchise more than it is to prop up Mayfield, but it’s still true no matter your angle.
His detractors will never realize just how crucial it is to have a competent head coach and front office. That’s the issue with debating Mayfield. He’s not had a career like Brees or Tom Brady where he’s had 20 years of consistency with one coach.
What’s the need to throw him in with the DeShone Kizer’s, Brandon Weedon’s, and Brady Quinn’s? Too many people are looking to thrust a label on him before he’s done. Let’s see what 2020 holds before we adorn a bust or franchise tag on the guy. He’s played well and no quarterback in 21 years has played as well in a Browns uniform.