1. History says Baker will win
The biggest reason for hope in 2019 also happens to be the biggest reason for cheers during the 2018 NFL Season. No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield silenced all his critics this year when he went 6-7 as a starter, while also leading them to a win off the bench in his first appearance. All in all, the Browns were 7-7 in games Baker played in.
He also set a couple of records during his rookie campaign. The first was the franchise record for passing yards by a rookie with 3,725 total through the air. He also broke the league record for touchdown passes by a rookie as he ended with 27 — one more than Peyton Manning had in 1998 and Russell Wilson had in 2012.
So while his play has fans excited, history should as well. Each of the two quarterbacks he surpassed won Super Bowls, and both had big success right after their rookie campaigns. Both Seattle and Indianapolis went 13-3 in their franchise quarterback’s second seasons. Not only that, but Wilson and the Seahawks went and won the Super Bowl.
Even if the Browns don’t win it all as Wilson did, they should see huge strides made. Manning, for example, was 3-13 as a starter in his rookie season. The next year after he set his record, the Colts won 10 more games.
There’s no reason to think that the Browns can’t continue that success. With Mayfield under center and taking instruction from Kitchens, they went 5-3. Now they will add more talent around him and have Kitchens and Mayfield working together throughout the offseason.
If history is any indication, next year will be a great year for the Browns. And it’s perfectly fine to believe in that finally.