Browns vs. Panthers: 3 big storylines for Week 1

Browns, Jacoby Brissett
Browns, Jacoby Brissett /
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Baker Mayfield. (Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images) /

1. Baker Mayfield’s revenge game

It was a long offseason for the Browns as they went through a huge quarterback change. They pursued Deshaun Watson and after appearing to have failed to land him, it was eventually announced that he was headed to Cleveland after all.

Following his arrival, Baker Mayfield was officially on the trade block but the takers seemed limited. The Panthers and Seahawks were said to be the only teams in play, but as the offseason went along, reports suggested Seattle was never really that interested.

In the end, Mayfield landed with the Panthers and then won the starting job over Sam Darnold — who has since been injured. After securing his spot, Mayfield was said to have taken a shot at the Browns with some colorful language. He quickly denied this, but then promoted a shirt with the phrase “Off the Leash” on it, clearly referencing his escape from the Dawg Pound.

Anyone who has ever followed Mayfield shouldn’t be surprised at the back and forth that began recently. Instead, they would likely be surprised it took so long for him to say anything that might seem controversial.

Mayfield is one of the more emotionally-driven athletes in the game today. He likes to win all the time but he loves to win when he can get revenge on someone. Whether it was Kliff Kingsbury and Texas Tech when he was playing for Oklahoma or Hue Jackson during his rookie season when the coach signed with Cincinnati, Mayfield has always brought something extra when he wants to even a score.

This game will mean more to him than any other on the schedule in 2022, and it will be very interesting to see how he comes out and how the Cleveland defense responds to him.

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