Baker Mayfield is the first quarterback the Cleveland Browns have had that has been worth a damn since 1999. He’s the only quarterback since Brian Sipe to throw 20 touchdowns in back-to-back seasons and has won more games across two seasons than any Browns quarterback not named Derek Anderson.
He has to prove that he’s the guy for the Browns in 2020. Not just for himself, and the team. He’ll more than likely get a fourth year regardless of this season, but to ease the disdain from the media and fans alike he has to improve.
The sad truth regarding modern sports fans. No one is given time to grow. Mayfield needs to silence the critics in 2020 and that’s not up for debate. Otherwise, he’ll be maligned and mocked all offseason, and while Mayfield did a great job blocking the noise out in 2020, who knows what he’ll be like confidence-wise after a bad season. He may feel the need to reply if this season gets away from him.
That’s why Mayfield has to have a big season. For a quarterback so connected to his confidence, if Mayfield struggles it could get ugly both on-field and off. The team is in such good shape, however, that Mayfield should be the first Browns quarterback to throw for more than 30 touchdowns in a season in franchise history.
The system he’s in will surely benefit Mayfield’s skill set. He likes over the middle stuff, and if he’s back to his old accurate ways, can make a meal out of the crossing routes and dumping stuff into the hands of his waiting tight ends.
If the rushing game is as potent this year as last, safeties will need to cheat and come down to help the rushing attack, allowing for more one-on-one options on the boundaries. Mayfield does have good arm-strength, so he should be able to drop passes into their awaiting arms with relative ease.
Mayfield is out of excuses for why he doesn’t have a great year. That’s why he’s going to have one. The pressure is on and he’s historically done well when the heat is on high.