The Cleveland Browns are 4-2, what’s so terrible?
Nick Wright has forever endeared himself in the hearts of Cleveland Browns fans with a brilliant and impassioned rant against his fellow First Things First (Fox Sports) who were taking turns all week long bashing the Cleveland Browns and especially Baker Mayfield.
It started earlier in the week when Baker Mayfield, in response to a question from Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com about whether the media criticism was getting to him, responded as follows: “I don’t give a damn what they say. They get paid to talk. We get paid to do our work.”
That really ruffled some feathers in the national media. Imagine that upstart not caring about the high-and-mighty opinions of national sportscasters?!
That brought the First Things First team (Brandon Marshall, Jenna Wolfe and Kevin Wildes and Wright) to ask Eric Mangini, the former coach of the Browns and current commentator, for his opinion. Mangini, brought forward the ironclad logical argument, as only a football coach can, that if Mayfield denies that it bothers him, that proves that it does in fact bother him. Mangini would be a great prosecuting attorney. You see? He denies it! That proves he is guilty. What more proof is needed, your Honor?
The First Take team then discussed whether the Browns are being unfairly criticized. Mangini smugly asserted that no, the Browns have not been unfairly criticized, because the Dallas Cowboys are easily criticized significantly more than the Browns.
That got old Nick going.
Yeah! That’s because one team STINKS and the other team is FOUR and TWO!
Baker has done everything off the field this that his critics have asked him to do. How is Baker supposed to answer that question and not be criticized for it? What is he supposed to say that passes muster for you guys? If he says, ‘it motivates me,’ that’s no good. That’s what he said last year, and we CRUSHED him for it. If he says, ‘I don’t hear it,’ we say ‘YOU’RE LYING!’ If he admits hearing it but says ‘I don’t care’ that’s not good not enough either! He has to do these media appearances. It is literally in his contract. What is he supposed to say there, where he won’t be criticized? — Nick Wright, First Things FIrst
The pompous Mangini claimed that he can tell by looking at Mayfield’s face that their criticism bothers him. Well, that’s wonderful, coach. Cleveland fans can tell just by looking at your face that you enjoy each Cleveland loss, and you are still bitter over being fired.
In fairness, Mangini was a very smart coach who deserved better. Had the Browns had the right GM to work with him, he woud have been a winner. Nevertheless, it is all too clear he has an axe to grind.
No sane person could claim that the dysfunctional Cowboys at 2-4 and getting shredded on defense week after week, deserve less criticism than the Browns who are 4-2 at this point. Now, it’s still early. Maybe the Cowboys and Andy Dalton will turn it around and go 12-4 this season while the Browns might still go 4-12. If it does, then we will heap praise on the Cowboys and criticize the Browns collapse. But that has not happened yet.
So what is so terrible about being 4-2? Maybe Mangini has been watching The Herd, with Colin Cowherd.
At any point in time, in every NFL community, there is always a contingent of fans that want to fire the current quarterback and hire a new Messianic quarterback. Cleveland has its share of fans who are obsessed with changing the quarterback, and perhaps they have champions in the national media now.
We also learned this week from any number of sources that set Twitter ablaze with the news that Baker Mayfield can never beat Pittsburgh or Baltimore, despite years of trying and failing. He cannot beat them, so it is time to give up, right. But, wait a minute.
Who made up this story? Baker Mayfield beat the Baltimore Ravens not once, but twice. The only other quarterback to beat Baltimore twice since 2018 is Patrick Freaking Mahomes. Baltimore went 14-3 last season and 5-1 so far this season, so just how many quarterbacks have actually beaten Baltimore lately?
If it is so easy to beat the 2020 Pittsburgh Steelers, why has no other team done it yet? The Cleveland Browns and Mayfield also beat the Pittsburgh Steelers last year. So how did this story line get started? It is completely false, and in fact the opposite is true.
Over his short career, Mayfield has had better success against Pittsburgh and Baltimore than any other quarterback with the exception of Mahomes. Anyway, there will be a rematch against both of those teams, and the soprano has not yet sung the final verse of the opera.
This is not to say that Mayfield is going to be Browns quarterback for life. In fact, Mayfield is going to have to step up his play in order to get that contract extension he wants that will keep him in Cleveland thru 2027 or so. Nevertheless the Browns finally have a winning team, at least for the moment, and so there is absolutely no reason to tear it down and destroy it. The idea of fans giving up on any team, even the New York Jets, is borderline anti-American. This writer did not give up on the Browns when they went 0-16. This is football. There is no giving up in football. So to give up on a team that is 4-2 is the height of ridiculousness. It is beyond stupid.
A big thank you for Nick Wright for having the guts to try to talk sense to his pompous Mayfield-hating colleagues.
Oh, Wright will dish out criticism when it is deserved, but he is secure enough in his stature and ratings that he does not need to spread unfair criticism. Nick Wright, you rock!