Sunday nights game in Baltimore is more than likely the season for our beloved Browns. That sadly is a hard cold reality of this season. With that said the media, local and national, want to talk about is how mad Baker Mayfield is this week. If I was him, I'd be mad too. BUT I would be mad for very different reasons than he seems to be. You don't pick verbal fights with fans, and he's dead wrong for that and for the lack of sportsmanship post game. Both were exceedingly childish and not professional.
I have a very different take than many on this whole deal. TRUE - he played very poorly Sunday, but we did win. And clearly he is physically hurt, but he still plays with passion, albeit not great right now. But there is a line of thinking he has not done his job this season. The Browns are 6-5 right now, and that's not where we thought we would be. But let's just be VERY honest here, and let's get this right, for right sake.
In the Chiefs game week 1, if our punter simply catches a perfect snap in the fourth quarter when it matters - we win that game, plain and simple. How absolutely basic is that? Mayfield's offense scored 29 points against the 2-time AFC Champs on the road. That would make us 7-4 now and it was right there to take, you saw it. That loss had ZERO to do with Baker. The Chargers game, on the coast, we scored a Baker led 42 POINTS in California. For some reason our defense gives up 26 points in the 4th quarter, and we get beat inexcusably. That loss had ZERO to do with Baker. It had to do with some players, and coaches having their heads all the way up their own behinds. That would make us 8-3 right now and we would all be giddy and thinking a deep playoff run. These games were there for the taking, both on the road against good teams.
Even getting drilled by the Cardinals (who were unbeaten then), then laying that terrible egg against the Steelers, and the total spanking by the Patriots we would still be atop the AFC. The way I see it, and actually the way it is, Baker Mayfield has done his job. It hasn't been beautiful, but it's been good enough, even being hurt since week two trying to make a tackle after his own interception. But I can't fault him for trying to make a tackle when it mattered. Might be nice if we had more of that out there. Then the whole OBJ disaster? So the media keeps asking, "Why is he playing? He's hurt." - He's playing because he's the starting QB of this team, and its possible future for years to come.
The Browns are at the place where they have to pony up some big bucks to keep him with a new contract, or not, which is fair, and this is his litmus test. He's hurt, we are up against it, and they are giving him every single chance to make this season a success. I would want to know exactly what I had too before I thought about possibly paying a guy 35-40 million per year for multiple years. And it starts in Baltimore Sunday.
If Baker somehow gets his Browns into the playoffs with a great stretch run, the Browns may have found their long term guy. You're not going to find that out playing Case Kenum who will not be here next year. No offense to Case, this is not his team, it's Bakers. If and when Baker can't go anymore, then it's Kenum's team for a few weeks and the Browns can start making Florida and Arizona tee times. The lessons of Kelly Holcomb and Johnny Manziel reminds us that when the most popular guy on the team for any moment is the backup QB, you have a BIG, BIG problem. I don't want that again.
Booing Mayfield I feel is uneducated, and Sunday, I don't think they were booing him. I think they were booing out of frustration with play calling, mistakes, penalties, and the overall struggling on both sides of the ball with the winless Lions. I feel at the professional level it was justified, and I think it was a wake up call to Stefanski, as fans finally spoke up and demanded smart, efficient football at crunch time. And that's how the game ended, and it's about time.
I am not a gigantic Mayfield fan, but I know what is fair, what I see, and what is true. He's hurt and not his best by any means right now, but he's not why we are 6-5. In my view, he has done his job to the tune of 8-3. This team, has consistently been let down by bozoic defensive non-plays, penalties, errors and schemes, plus Junior High School mistakes by members of this team that have nothing to do with Baker Mayfield.
Can this be done on the road Sunday? Probably not. But it's Bakers chance to do what he has done his entire football life, prove others wrong. And after weeks of team errors, bad officiating, Covid, injuries, and at times even his own coach letting this team down with silly play calling and decision making, I feel he deserves this chance.
After all, this year Baker is 8-3.