After an offseason that built a mountain of hype, the Browns stumbled to a 6-10 record and Mayfield’s inconsistent play behind a shoddy offensive line was a big part of the reason.
Mayfield finished the year with 3,827 yards, 22 touchdowns and 21 interceptions, ranking next-to-last in both passer rating (78.8) and completion percentage (59.4%) despite having both Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry at his disposal.
“It was a different year for me,” Mayfield told reporters at the end of the season. “Definitely didn’t have it all figured out. A lot of learning lessons, life lessons for me. I’m going to come back a different animal come spring time. …I love this game. I play it because it’s hard to play, it’s hard to have success. It’s the process you have to enjoy. The ups and downs. There was a lot of that this year.”
Gil Brandt: Mayfield Should Be One of Most Improved QBs
Mayfield has made himself a target in many ways because of his brash attitude and willingness to say what’s on his mind to the media. There are some who are quick to yell “bust” at the former Heisman winner and No. 1 overall pick, but Hall of Fame executive Gil Brandt is not among them. Brandt believes Mayfield is due for a turnaround next season, which he broke down in a column on NFL.com.
“Mayfield’s failure to build upon his impressive 2018 rookie season helped cost coach Freddie Kitchens his job after just one year. Kitchens’ replacement, former Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski, is expected to install the kind of balanced offense that helped QB Kirk Cousins thrive in Minnesota; with the Vikes being one of three teams in the NFL who ran more than they passed last season, Cousins was able to make magic on play-action.”
Brandt cites the bevy of weapons Mayfield has at his disposal — from Landry and Beckham to the improved tight end group that includes free agent gem Austin Hooper and David Njoku.
However, Brandt cautions that if things don’t turn around for Mayfield, he could find himself looking for a new team.
“Mayfield has done himself no favors in terms of how he’s handled media scrutiny, but he should be one of the league’s most improved quarterbacks in 2020. If he isn’t, expect the Browns to decline his fifth-year option and resume the search for a franchise passer that dates back to Bernie Kosar’s 1980s heyday.”
Browns Have Baker Mayfield’s Back
While are not allowed to gather at team facilities, but there is nothing in place preventing them from getting together for private workouts. Mayfield has been holding a training session of his own down in his home state of Texas with a group of pass-catchers that includes Hooper, Njoku, Damion Ratley and Rashard Higgins.
Browns and Stefanski have been bullish that Mayfield will turn things around in his third season, and getting some early work in with his teammates will only help.
“It’s just a matter of the players rising to the occasion,” Stefanski said, per ESPN. “I think Baker has done that throughout his lifetime. He’s won in high school. He’s won in college and he’s won some games in the NFL. … I have a lot of confidence in Baker, but I’m not going to speak it into existence, and neither will he. It’s going to be a matter of hard work from Baker, from our coaches and from our entire offense.”