The Cleveland Browns should be mindful about what they say this season.
When it comes to the Cleveland Browns, Nick Chubb, Myles Garrett, and John Johnson have sure said a lot about their former quarterback. Most of it has been anything but flattering and it’s clear that the team had some real divisive elements to it. Were they all Baker Mayfield’s fault? No, not even close. Clearly, there were toxic elements in that locker room, probably many of which still exist.
After all, leadership is a clear sign of an environment and the leadership of the Browns hasn’t changed at all. In fact, one could argue that the team has simply added to its toxicity. While the Browns are talking about their ex-quarterback, what they’re failing to realize is the perception developing around them.
Yes, to a lot of Clevelanders, Baker Mayfield is either the villain or a non-factor going forward. Yet, as with Mayfield’s non-quote that Garrett said he was going to use as motivation when you put things out there, people are going to use what these guys are saying against them.
Especially when you’re the most disliked team in the league. The NFL fanbase as a whole truly doesn’t have much respect for Cleveland after making the trade for disgraced quarterback Deshaun Watson.
If you don’t think the NFL media is going to dunk on the Browns time and time again the more they talk think again. Especially if they don’t win.
The Cleveland Browns should not be trying to be the villains in any situation
This isn’t any other week and it isn’t any other season. The eyes of the NFL are on the Browns and the league’s fans are openly hoping the team fails. People believe that this team is filled with low-moral people. The perception has never been this bad, not even when they went 0-16. This constant chatter about leaving Mayfield on read and how they know Mayfield, so they don’t know what to expect, all it’s doing is fueling people to dunk on the team.
If you thought the media’s portrayal of the team from outside of Cleveland was bad, just wait until some of these more explosive personalities are held up for their comments and behavior. Especially if the Panthers have a better season than the Browns.
If Mayfield can lead the Panthers to the playoffs while the Browns fall apart, then all of this early-season bluster will only highlight that it wasn’t Mayfield that was the problem. Even if it’s not entirely true. If the Panthers succeed while the Browns stumble, then all of these empty-calory shots at Mayfield will only bite the team in the butt, making them look foolish.
The Browns are not in a place where they can afford to look like fools.
All that goodwill from 2020 is absolutely gone and the team is seemingly doing everything it can to embrace being the villains. Dunking on your former teammate for reaching out to you as a show of respect isn’t the thing you want to put out there. While some in Cleveland may have seen that as a “win” for Garrett, it actually just showed how immature he still is.
The Browns are doing all they can to work themselves up more than they need to. For all the talk of this being just another game, these cats sure are acting like it’s far more than that. The Browns need to be mindful, lest they become everyone’s favorite team to meme all season long.