Baker Mayfield has injected the Cleveland Browns with some swagger, and as long as he wins he can talk as much as he wants to.
“It ain’t braggin’ if you can back it up.” That quote has has been used in some rendition by a lot athletes, but it can be first directly credited as is to Baseball Hall of Famer Dizzy Dean. Baker Mayfield said he would bring a winning mentality to the Cleveland Browns after being drafted No. 1 overall in 2018, and overall he has not been afraid to speak his mind.
Mayfield made his first NFL start in Week 4 last year, and the Browns went 6-7 in his 13 starts. For a team that won one game over the previous two seasons, a record near .500 (7-8-1 overall) serves as a revelation and reason for great optimism.
In the eight games after Hue Jackson and Todd Haley were fired as head coach and offensive coordinator last year, and Freddie Kitchens became interim head coach, Mayfield and the Browns took off. The team went 5-3 in the second half of the season, as Mayfield completed 68.4 percent of his passes with 19 touchdowns as he averaged 8.6 yards per attempt. He was also top-10 in touchdown percentage, yards per attempt and passer rating on downfield throws (20-plus yards) over that span. That run was the driving force for Kitchens becoming the permanent head coach in Cleveland.
In an interview with GQ published on Tuesday, Mayfield spoke about the New York Giants’ decision to take quarterback Daniel Jones with the sixth overall pick in this year’s draft.
Blows my mind,” “Some people overthink it. That’s where people go wrong. They forget you’ve gotta win.
Jones went 17-19 as the starter at Duke, while Mayfield was 39-9 at Oklahoma. It’s worth noting that Patrick Mahomes was 13-16 at Texas Tech, so college win-loss record is clearly not a perfect forecaster of NFL success. But count Mayfield among those who think the Giants reached.
That nice finish to the 2018 season, along with an offseason headlined by the trade for wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., has created heightened immediate expectations for the Browns this year. Time will tell if they’ll fulfill that hype, but Mayfield is becoming the long-awaited face of the franchise and as long as he wins plenty of games he can talk all he wants.