4 reasons Baker Mayfield has seen his numbers go down
While three wins versus one loss cannot be argued with, Baker Mayfield’s numbers and power ratings are sliding south. Why?
It is clear that Baker Mayfield of the Cleveland Browns did not have his typical Mayfield game versus either Chicago or Minnesota. Let’s first of all clear the air and note that the Browns are 3-1. If for the moment we put aside what we thought we knew going into the season, the Browns have emerged as a dominant defensive team that is leading the NFL in rushing yards.
That’s a pretty good formula for making the playoffs. However, Mayfield is 22nd in the NFL in passing yards. According to Pro Football Reference, Mayfield is third among starters in the NFL in percentage of bad throws (percentage of poor throws per pass attempt, excluding spikes and throwaways), right behind Justin Fields and Trevor Lawrence. We didn’t expect that, or at least this fan did not.
Greg Rosenthal of NFL.com has Mayfield ranked 14th overall going into week five. Matt Verderame of FanSided has Mayfield ranked 15th overall. So does Cody Benjamin of CBSSports and Mike Tannenbaum of ESPN, just to cite a few well-known quarterback gurus.
There’s a certain consensus that has emerged. The power rankings are not a referendum on the last game’s performance, in theory. If the quarterback just had a bad game, the ranking shouldn’t change.
Nevertheless, the fact that quarterbacks jump up and down from week to week basically is an admission that we really don’t know squat about how good these guys are. Sam Darnold and Jameis Winston are on on a good team, and collectively sportswriters are starting to realize that maybe these guys are better than we thought.
The fact of the matter is that there are very few bad quarterbacks in the NFL, but there are a number of factors that influence performance. A classic mantra from this space is that Tom Brady could never operate Lamar Jackson’s offense, and Lamar Jackson could never operate Tom Brady’s offense.
These superstars would put up lousy numbers given the wrong situation; meaning game plans that don’t match their skills, or if they have the wrong players around them, or if they are just banged up. It might be that the quarterback might really be bad beyond all redemption but often it is not that sample.
In Mayfield’s case, we have seen him play very well the last eight games last season, but tail off the past few games this year. This writer will not entertain the suggestion that he is an untalented player because if that were true he could not have played at a high level last year and led the team into the playoffs and nearly upset the defending world champion Kansas City Chiefs. So, what has changed?
Four possible reasons are offered below. They may all have some merit or they may be completely off.