Since day 1 lofty expectations have followed Baker Mayfield into the NFL: and he’s been up and down on meeting them. He put the league on notice his 1st year by going 6-7 in the games he started and throwing for 3,725 yards, a rookie record setting 27 touchdowns at the time to 14 interceptions. He proved he can do exactly what made you love or hate him in college. He could “talk that talk” and back it up with his play. Then came the big offseason moves in getting a new head coach Freddie Kitchens, premiere running back Kareem Hunt, and star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. Experts thought they were a lock for the playoffs; with some even predicting a Superbowl appearance.
They were everything but Superbowl contenders as they were atrocious; going 6-10 with the 22nd ranked offense and threw 22 touchdowns to 21 interceptions. Although he had a career high 3,827 yards, they were nothing but empty calories in the long run. The media were vultures, taking the opportunity to rip into Mayfield calling him a bust and tearing into his brash personality.
The following offseason they loaded up even more, bolstering the offensive line, hiring new head coach Kevin Stefanski, and signing tight end Austin Hooper. Although many had written Baker Mayfield and the Browns off, on paper they still had a playoff caliber roster and Baker Mayfield had to deliver, and he did exactly that.
After and embarrassing week 1 loss to the Ravens Baker Mayfield went on to record his best season to date eye test and statistical wise. The Browns went 11-5, with Baker throwing for 3,563 yards, with 26 touchdowns to 8 interceptions and a completion percentage of 62.8%. The Browns were also able to secure a wildcard berth annihilating their division rival the Pittsburgh Steelers in the wildcard round, and nearly able to knock off the Kansas City Chiefs which many hailed as the next NFL dynasty losing 17-22.
Can Baker Mayfield Win it All?
With Baker Mayfield on the cusp of being known as one of the NFL’s elite quarterbacks, he has almost met the expectations that have been put on him since sophomore year, almost. You see we know Baker’s a great qb, we understand that his sophomore year was probably fluke due to bad Oline play. However, he now has ZERO excuses. 2 undoubtedly top 15 receivers, the best o line in the league, the best running back duo in the league, with a much-improved defense (on paper at least) to back you up, and coaching continuity. No other QB in the league besides Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes has that amount of help and we’ve seen what they’ve done with it, both in the MVP conversation and both in the Superbowl.
It’s not good enough to go 12-4 and be divisional round exits, no. Baker Mayfield must be in the MVP conversation, Baker needs to be high 3,000’s low 4,000’s for yardage, and up in high 30’s for touchdowns. Why? Because he has 0 excuse not to be. This team yet again has become the talk of the offseason with many hailing them as the most equipped to beat the Chiefs and as Bills I must admit that is correct. Everything is there on a platter for Baker, so will he play with his food or will he finally shut the damn critics up.
By: Jamal Harris Jr. CruelFan.com