Baker Mayfield of the Cleveland Browns is constantly having to eat negativity from national outlets.
If someone set rookie records and lead a team to a near-playoff birth, you’d think they’d be given a little bit of leeway. You’d think that mechanics and intangibles would outlast stats that only tell a fraction of a story. You would think that people would use historical context to frame narratives, rather than living and dying on hot takes. Yet, if you’re Baker Mayfield of the Cleveland Browns, being the best statistical quarterback since Brian Sipe has given him no safety net.
Time and time again this off-season NFL “experts” keep saying that Mayfield is “on the verge of being a bust”. That perhaps 2021 will see the Browns “move on” and look for another new quarterback.
Enter Kyle Brandt, an NFL Network co-host who seems to have as much clue about football as he does about botany. He slammed Mayfield, saying that Mayfield’s career is “flashing in front of him this year.” Then going on to say, “If Baker doesn’t deliver this year, it’s time to start talking about other options.” Keep in mind he set rookie passing records just 18 months ago. All it took was a few bad games apparently.
Let’s be clear here, Mayfield has thrown for over 3,700 yards in both seasons, under three head coaches. He’s thrown over 20 touchdowns in both of his seasons with three head coaches. He’s completed over 60% of his career passes under three head coaches.
What more do you want him to do? The narrative that a good quarterback can drag a team to a championship is a lie. These “experts” know that. They just don’t care about facts and logic. They want hot takes, even if it means ruining a man’s reputation.
Do you know how many players since Sipe have put up those types of numbers in back to back seasons for the Cleveland Browns? None. Just Mayfield. Yet, “he’s the problem”? How goofy do you have to be to make that argument?
Then there was Colin Cowherd
Then there’s Colin Cowherd, and oh god, he’s at it again. Cowherd went on to say that if the Browns don’t make the playoffs that Mayfield will be fired. He said that dumb thing. He absolutely said that dumb thing. One has to wonder just why is he taking his Mayfield beef so personally.
Talk about maturity issues.
“If Cleveland doesn’t make the playoffs, Baker Mayfield is getting fired,” Cowherd said on the Thursday edition of his show. He was reacting to the oddsmakers saying the Browns have an over/under of 8.5 wins for the 2020 season.
“I could argue [the Browns] have more depth offensively than the Kansas City Chiefs,” Cowherd bemoaned. “They may not have the top-end stuff, but they’ve got more depth. …They’ve got two receivers. They’ve got two tight ends. They’ve got two running backs. [Cleveland is] definitely better than Kansas City at running back and now probably potentially as good at tackle.”
So Mayfield is going to get fired if they don’t make the playoffs. Why? Because Kevin Stefanski is too new to replace. Yet Mayfield, who’s the best quarterback the team has had in 30 years is easily replaceable. Really? Let’s look at Sam Darnold, the other top quarterback prospect from 2018. What do his numbers look like? Any seasons of 3,500 passing yards? No. Any seasons of 20 plus touchdowns? No. Any seasons where he completed 62% of his passes? No. How many head coaches? One.
So if Darnold doesn’t step up, he’s getting fired too. Right, Cowherd? “If Sam Darnold struggles, [Jets coach] Adam Gase will be fired because Darnold hasn’t had any maturity issues.”
Oh, so this isn’t about talent or execution. It’s about being vindictive and judgemental. Gotcha. What did I say about maturity issues again?
All of this Mayfield bashing is done simply for the hot-takes. Mayfield doesn’t deserve to be this successful and this maligned. He was still a capable quarterback last year with a depleted receiving corp, no tight ends to speak of and an offensive line so holey that it went to live in Vatican City for a summer.
Stop the fear-mongering and just let the season play out. No one respects hot-takes anymore.