Baker Mayfield appears to be too injured to help the Cleveland Browns. The coaching staff needs to shut him down and promote Case Keenum.
All fans see it differently, but this Cleveland Browns fan saw a quarterback who couldn’t throw accurately outside of 10 yards against the Detroit Lions on Sunday.
Baker Mayfield‘s tolerance for pain and his fearlessness are exceeded only by his lack of common sense. Mayfield’s passes versus Detroit were all over the place. Some sailed majestically over the outstretched arms of Jarvis Landry. Others were “just a bit outside,” to quote Bob Uecker in Major League.
Still, others were buried in the turf of FirstEnergy Stadium. Two balls went into the greedy paws of the Lions defenders. The coaching staff is going to have to intervene and set him down. He’s not in a position to help the team win versus the Baltimore Ravens.
Mayfield is injured, it’s as simple as that. Scoring only 13 points versus the Detroit Lions is a red flag. It’s impossible to throw accurately in the NFL while wearing a straitjacket. The torn labrum in his left shoulder rather than his throwing shoulder, and the harness holding his body together do not prevent him from throwing footballs with full strength. It does prevent him from throwing with accuracy, however. The eyeball test reveals he cannot reliably deliver the ball downfield.
The fact that he violated league rules by refusing to speak with the media after the game may reflect a tacit admission that he knows now he’s not himself.
At a minimum, Mayfield needed to limit the Howitzer to seven-to-10 yard passes a la Ben Roethlisberger. However, a major theme of this season has been to make wide receivers happy by feeding them deep balls, and that’s what he tried to do.
It’s not working.
People want to kick Mayfield when he’s down and say that he has no talent, is the worst quarterback in the NFL, and the Browns need to cut him, blah, blah, blah. Well, you know what? It’s probably true that he is only a top 50 talent right now and Case Keenum gives the Browns a better chance to win.
But have Brown fans forgotten that this team went 12-6 last season and rang up 48 points on the Pittsburgh Steelers in Pittsburgh during a playoff game last year? How exactly did that happen if their quarterback is so terrible? Don’t even try to credit dear departed Odell Beckham, Jr. because his name did not appear in the box score.
Baker, no doubt feels unappreciated after giving his heart, soul, and body to the Cleveland Browns, and suffering unimaginable pain to get on the field. You know what? He’s right. Football is a results-oriented business and right now the results are not there.
Will rest help Mayfield recover? We’ll ultimately leave that to the medical and training staff, but from what we know the knee and foot injuries might heal, but the shoulder harness is not coming off until he gets surgery.
Can he throw accurately again this season? There were times when he looked okay with the dang harness. But when an offensive line allows the quarterback to get sacked at a 50 sack per year pace, quarterbacks typically do not get healthier, they get worse. Not to sound like Emily Mayfield, but this situation should be very, very concerning.
Baker, your fans do love you, but for the good of the team if not your own health, Case Keenum has to be the first string signal-caller for the rest of the season.