After 20 years of tears and unenjoyable Bud Light, the Cleveland Browns finally got it right at quarterback. When the team returned to the National Football League in 1999, their future star quarterback was only four-years-old. 20 years later, Cleveland was able to crack open that fridge and raise some Bud Light to their new franchise king, Baker Mayfield.
In Baker Mayfield We Trust
A lot of smoke blew around the league prior to the draft about who the Browns were going to take at number one. Bradley Chubb, Saquon Barkley, Josh Allen, and Sam Darnold were among the most popular names mentioned. One name wasn’t really discussed at number one until the hours leading up to the draft and that was Mayfield.
Mayfield had been rumored at the possibility of falling to the Miami Dolphins at number 11 overall because of comparisons to the Browns infamous 2014 pick, Johnny Manziel. They were both similar size and had character concerns but Mayfield’s talent trumps his “issues” by far, unlike Manziel’s.
Mayfield’s passion for the game could be mistaken as character issues because of some unforgettable moments like gesturing with his genitals at the opposing team and planting the University of Oklahoma flag in the middle of Ohio State’s football field. Mayfield also had a run-in with the police but apologized profusely afterward, acknowledging his mistake.
But Mayfield’s on-field demeanor, ability to make plays, and incredible touchdown passes is what has made him successful so far. He’s spoken to the media in a professional manner and has handled criticism with poise. This has simply set him ahead of the rest of his fellow rookie quarterbacks, even without considering his place in the draft.
Change of Culture
The Browns have finally seen a change in culture and it has come in two parts. Before the season started, head coach Hue Jackson said that there would be no quarterback competition between Mayfield and Tyrod Taylor, to which he remained firm on. It wasn’t Taylor who was the biggest problem with the Browns first two losses in the season but with him under center, the Browns offense couldn’t get going. After Taylor got hurt in Week Three against the New York Jets, Mayfield came in as his replacement and that sparked a Cleveland football revolution.
Part two came when the Browns fired Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley after the team went 2-5-1 through the first eight weeks. His overall record in three years with the team was a sad 3-36-1. Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams took Jackson’s place as head coach while running backs coach Freddie Kitchens became the offensive coordinator. Since they took on their interim positions, the Browns have gone an impressive 4-2.
Mayfield has won five rookie of the week awards this season and has a total of 3,065 yards, 21 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, and a 92.6 quarterback rating through 15 weeks. At the same time, he’s making a great case for offensive rookie of the year at the end of the season. Whatever is happening between Mayfield, the coaching staff, and players like Jarvis Landry and Nick Chubb, is working. Williams and Kitchens are making a great case to keep their jobs next season. If they can finish the final two games against the Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens strong, John Dorsey should have an easy decision on his hands.
It’s finally time for some good Cleveland football.