How the Cleveland Browns QBs help one another
Out of anything you can possibly think of that went wrong for Mayfield last season, what did we learn from his struggles?
He needs help. Yes, of course, he has help when it comes to a supporting cast, as Mayfield has arguably one of the best-supporting casts around him on paper. The “help” that Mayfield needs comes in two forms: continuity and experience. While you cannot knock out the continuity part in one offseason, the Browns knocked the other half out of the park.
Signing Jack Conklin to a three-year deal will only help Mayfield and protect him from many things, such as injury and simply more time to deliver the ball. Adding Austin Hooper will do wonders for Mayfield and enable him to have yet another big target, especially in the red zone. What other help did they get Mayfield?
Enter Case Keenum. From proving he can win to showing out when nobody expected him to, Keenum has been through it all as a veteran backup. Yes, $18 million is a lot to give to a backup quarterback, but Keenum is worth every penny.
With his ties to new head coach Kevin Stefanski, Keenum is already used to the system that Mayfield will play in, allowing Mayfield to be a sponge this offseason and soak up every little thing that Keenum has to say. In 2017, Keenum went 11-3 as a starter in Stefanski’s system.
Come time for training camp and the preseason, Keenum is going to know everything that is expected of Stefanski, and will be able to let Mayfield know how things run under Stefankski and get Mayfield quickly acclimated to his new system.
In terms of resume, Keenum has it all. Playoff wins, the miracle game against the Saints, and winning close games that are meaningful in the regular season. If there is one thing I want to see Keenum teach Mayfield that doesn’t relate to systems is turnover control.
While it may sound a bit odd, you can teach mistakes out of a young quarterback. Too many times last year, Mayfield was under pressure and decided to throw up a prayer, most likely because of the talent he has around him. If Mayfield cuts that out of his game, he will be just fine.
Out of every single free agent quarterback that was made available this offseason, Keenum was without a doubt the best fit for the Browns, and kudos to them for getting a deal done. If nothing else, the Browns have a quarterback on their roster that has proven he can win in their current system, something fans couldn’t take pride in saying for a long time.
That said, Keenum has one job: be a second coach under Stefanski, and make Mayfield the best quarterback he can be.