Is Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield in a sophomore slump?

Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

It’s no secret that the Cleveland Browns and Baker Mayfield have struggled so far this season. Can Baker pick it up or is he in a sophomore slump?

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield has five touchdown passes and 11 interceptions through six games this season. He has a completion percentage of 56.6 percent compared to last years 63.8 percent. Last year, he broke the rookie passing touchdown record with 27 touchdowns while also tossing 14 interceptions. So what has changed?

Scheme? Probably not. Freddie Kitchens was promoted because he said he wouldn’t stay unless he was the head coach. Play-calling? Well, the Browns are throwing the ball three times less per game compared to last year: 36 passes per game in 2018 to 33 in 2019 so far.

Poor offensive play overall? You can make an argument that the offensive line has also not played well, hindering the offense. You can also say that Mayfield has held the ball too long and has looked to move outside the pocket to try to create the “Wow” play that was big for the offense last year.

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Another point to be made, the Browns receivers have not been the most sure-handed so far this season. Baker is credited with eleven interceptions, but in reality, a substantial portion of those were after the receiver had already dropped a catch and the ball fell into the defenders hands.

Alright, let’s take all of this information that I’ve laid out for you. Agree with it or don’t, the fact remains that this offense has not been clicking this season and Baker Mayfield is trying too hard to make plays. I don’t think Baker will change the way he plays either, I think he will adapt to the situation which is what made him so great last season.

For all of those saying that Odell Beckham Jr. hasn’t been involved enough, he has, maybe too much. Forcing the ball to OBJ has not won this team games. Jarvis Landry has been the more reliable receiver so far, but that should have been expected. Defenses should be keying on OBJ over Landry and this offense should be taking advantage of that, and they have at points, but not enough to generate wins.

The run game has been even better that it was last year. Nick Chubb is on pace for over 1,200 yards on the ground,  so that opens up the passing game itself.

So, we have to ask ourselves, is this a sophomore slump or is something else going on? Is Baker trying to hard? Is Freddie calling poor plays? Is the offensive line lacking in the passing game? I would answer yes to all three of those questions.

The Browns receivers need to shore up their hands and the offense needs to generate more plays to their tight ends. OBJ not being fed the ball is alright because that is what opposing teams should expect to happen. Running the ball is a great thing, and after Kareem Hunt comes back, I’m not sure this team will need to pass the ball.

Next. Browns game-by-game predictions for rest of season. dark

Stay patient Browns fans. Baker Mayfield, Freddie Kitchens, or John Dorsey will right this ship and turn this season around. Browns over Patriots, 28-25.