Cleveland Browns Key Player No. 1: Quarterback Baker Mayfield
I tried really hard not to mention Baker Mayfield for this article and suggest he was a key player because if the Browns and their coaches were to use their quarterback simply as a game manager and focus the game plan on running the ball better, then there wouldn’t be the need.
But, with all the theatrics of this year circling around Mayfield, Browns coach Kevin Stefanski and the team I just don’t think these coaches and their quarterback can get out of their own way this season. That’s why last year was such a pleasant reversal of fortune.
This has been the season of the walking wounded for Mayfield. Everything discussed to death this year has been about Mayfield’s inconsistent play since he made that terrible decision in Week 2 to try and tackle a Houston Texan who had just intercepted his pass. The team hadn’t been upfront to start with about the severity of the injury to his shoulder. Then he sustained multiple other injuries as the season progressed. But still, the Browns have refused to sit him for more than a week.
Now, the team has had their bye week and Mayfield and the team are saying he looks better and is ready to go Sunday. The topic won’t go away after Sunday. You and I both know that.
How things play out Sunday down along the lakeshore will have a lot to do with Mayfield. It’s unfortunate because if the team got back to a more balanced attack on offense and kept getting a good effort by the players on the defensive side of the ball then this team would probably win out over the next five games.
We’ll all be holding our collective breath with each pass thrown by Mayfield. Here’s hoping the coaches keep the game plan simple and productive. Having Mayfield slinging the ball more than 35 or 40 times a game will never be good for this team.
Mayfield has thrown the ball 37, 47, 39, and 33 teams in the last four straight losses to Baltimore. Mayfield has only won one game in his career where he threw the ball more than 40 times. That happened to be the 12-9 win against the Ravens in his rookie year.
Stick to the run beyond the first drive on Sunday, get a good play by the Browns defense, and pray a little for a Mayfield resurgence, and the Browns we’ll be celebrating a Victory Monday.