Baker Mayfield: Chips and Shoulders

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buzzdog

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Context is king.

The NFL has altered the rules and slanted things so favorably toward passing offenses since 2005 that it's practically a different sport.

Personally, I think it's disingenuous to say Brees' significant improvement after age 26 is primarily a result of more experience or natural development or whatever you're suggesting.

It's more realistic IMO to say that Brees' numbers exploded for three reasons.

1. Brees went from playing 95% of his games outdoors to more than half of his games indoors (all home games + 1 game a year at Atlanta). Drew for his career has a 104.6 QB rating indoors vs. 92.5 QB rating outdoors.

2. Brees went from the notoriously conservative Marty Schottenheimer as his head coach in San Diego to one of the greatest offensive minds of all time in Sean Payton.

3. Most important of all, Brees' individual statistical explosion just so happened to coincide with NFL passing offenses league wide exploding. Brees didn't just magically get 30% better than he was as he aged. He was always really good + he started playing indoors + he got paired up with a Hall of Fame offensive coach + (and most important) passing simply got exponentially easier around the league as his career went on.

-Baker's playing in a bad weather city, that isn't changing if he stays in Cleveland.

-Baker's playing under one of the more highly regarded young offensive minds in the league, that isn't changing anytime soon if he stays in Cleveland.

-Baker's already playing in the most pass friendly era in NFL history. It seems highly unlikely the game is going to fundamentally change to where passing becomes tremendously easier than it already is right now.

Here are some numbers to chew on...

League averages in 2005: 59.5 completion %, 6.8 yards per attempt, 203.5 yards per game, 80.1 QB rating
League averages in 2021: 65.4 completion %, 7.3 yards per attempt, 237.7 yards per game, 92.2 QB rating

Brees' career numbers in 2005 when he was 26 still slotted him as a well above league average QB under that set of rules and how the game was played. Brees ranked 10th in the league in passer rating in 2005.

Baker's numbers at age 26 are a notch below the league average.

Can he get better? Maybe/probably/hopefully.

Is it realistic to expect Brees' level improvement given what we know about the how and why Brees' numbers improved as much as they did? I don't think so.
I just knew you'd jump in here and shit all over any glimpse of optimism about Mayfield's chance of ever being good.
 

buzzdog

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Say something silly, expect to get a response pointing out the silliness. That's how message boards work, right? There's always the ignore feature if it actually bothers you that much.

And considering he only has one year left on his contract, the Browns are decidedly NOT married to Baker Mayfield. He might not even be the QB of this franchise in four months.

And believe me, 0.0% of me wants this guy to do poorly. I'm rooting for Mayfield to play his absolute best every single week as long he's here. I'd love nothing more than for him to play better so we don't have to have these "debates" (they're becoming less debatable sadly) every week.

He's just given all of us very little reason to expect it to turn around. Pointing that out apparently makes people upset, but sometimes the truth hurts.
Sorry, but there's no part of me that believes you actually want to see Mayfield succeed. You seem to completely discount any possibility that his injuries are adversely affecting his performance. And I'm sure you'll roll out the whole "Stefanski says he's fine, Baker says he's fine, so what's the problem, he just sucks regardless" mantra.

It just might be more complicated than "he just sucks, period" as you are always eager to point out.
 

CBBI

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Sorry, but there's no part of me that believes you actually want to see Mayfield succeed. You seem to completely discount any possibility that his injuries are adversely affecting his performance. And I'm sure you'll roll out the whole "Stefanski says he's fine, Baker says he's fine, so what's the problem, he just sucks regardless" mantra.

It just might be more complicated than "he just sucks, period" as you are always eager to point out.

I'm not quite sure how to break this to you this... but Baker Mayfield has sucked this season. That's just a stone cold fact.

Is he hurt? Obviously yes. Is that negatively impacting his play? Most likely. But the fact of the matter is, Baker Mayfield is out there on the field every week. And if he's healthy enough to get on the field, then we have no choice but to hold him to the standard that he's healthy enough to play to the best of his ability. You don't have to agree with that, but that's just how I feel about any player, not just Baker. There's no excuses. If you're out there, the expectation is that you will play to the best of your ability. If a player can't do that, if we should expect far less than their best because of their injuries, then they should sit out.

But regardless of the reasons why, Baker has simply not played well enough for the team to win at the highest levels. Not this year, and candidly not last year either. You might not like it, but I'm genuinely not doing anything other than pointing out that fact and subsequently expressing my frustration with that fact.

Do you know why I'm frustrated with it? Because I want the Cleveland Browns to win the Super Bowl. That's all I care about. The only reason I follow sports at all is because I want to see the teams I enjoy rooting for succeed at the absolute highest levels possible.

I believe Kevin Stefanski as a head coach is more than good enough to win the Super Bowl. I believe Andrew Berry as a general manager is more than good enough to win the Super Bowl. I do not believe Baker Mayfield is a good enough quarterback to win the Super Bowl, injuries or not.

I do like Baker. I had very high expectations for him as the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. Candidly, I was much higher on him during the pre-draft process than most of the people on this board were. Feel free to check the first several pages of this thread or the "2018 draft prospects" thread and you'll see that to be the case.

And look, I was optimistic Baker would build off last year, particularly the last six games and into the playoffs, and continue to improve. Unfortunately, that hasn't happened for a variety of reasons. Some are injury related, but some are not. I'm just not comfortable blindly writing off this season's struggles with "oh well, he'll be fine when he's healthy" either. I simply do not believe that is a smart thing for the Browns or the fans to assume.

I completely understand the idea of Baker not being the guy is something a lot of people on this board really don't want to have to swallow because we have been so quarterback starved as a fan base for so long. But at the end of the day this is a results business. "Better than what we've had" is not good enough. "Pretty good" is not good enough. I need my team to have a starting QB who they believe can help them win at the absolute highest level. If they don't have that guy, then I need my team to be actively looking for the next guy.

I just don't believe they have that guy.
 

bigfoot5415

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I would challenge any NFL QB to play with the two shoulder injuries, the knee injury and the foot injury and be accurate. Go ahead, and try it yourself. You will not be accurate.

I also challenge any NFL QB to deal with the below average line play. the OBJ shit play/departure, the significant number of skilled position injuries, the shit defense, the drops, etc.

You will have a below .500 QB 9/10 and that 1/10 who has success isn't and will not be available. We are literally a key Jarvis drop, a key Odell drop, and a pass interference call away from having an 8-3 record. Things completely out of his control. Just imagine if we could actually get a few stops and not commit a stupid penalty. The sky would be the limit.

If you wanna say he should have sat, I'd agree with anyone all day. Stefanski & Berry have the ultimate power. If they're going with Baker, that's on them. Keenum has zero reason to be here if that's the case.

If you want to blame him for our record then that's on you as a biased fan.
 
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bigfoot5415

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Oh and go ahead and look at every QB this season. Statistically they have all shit the bed at one point or another. They were fortunate enough to have their defense show up on that same day (like we did against the Vikings).
 

sportscoach

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Mayfield is getting way way too much hate right now... He shouldn't honestly be playing, but he is and I think it's cause he is the leader in a sense on this team (at least attitude wise). I don't think we would be doing nearly as bad if Mayfield was healthy and Wills/Conklin combo wasn't missing time/was playing hurt...
 

Vee-Rex

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I'm not quite sure how to break this to you this... but Baker Mayfield has sucked this season. That's just a stone cold fact.
Based on how much you've spammed this, it seems to bother you more than most people.
If a player can't do that, if we should expect far less than their best because of their injuries, then they should sit out.
Eh, it depends on what the replacement is. If coach feels this severely hampered Baker still offers a higher ceiling and best possibility of a win than Keenum, and Baker is medically cleared, then I don't blame him for playing him.

Then we hear the BS argument about how much Keenum is paid as a backup and so he should start. That's irrelevant. No way Stefanski will ever be like, "Well I believe based on the week's gameplan that injured Baker has a better chance to execute and give us a win, but I'm gonna start Keenum BeCaUsE hE gEtS pAiD sO mUcH!!!!11"
 

Jack Brickman

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Still blows my mind how many people argued Saquon should have gone #1 overall.

And how even more people defended him being taken #2 overall.

Delusional.

Saquon is a prime example of what happens when an NFL team drafts like a fantasy team.
 

SuperSurge

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I would challenge any NFL QB to play with the two shoulder injuries, the knee injury and the foot injury and be accurate. Go ahead, and try it yourself. You will not be accurate.

I also challenge any NFL QB to deal with the below average line play. the OBJ shit play/departure, the significant number of skilled position injuries, the shit defense, the drops, etc.

You will have a below .500 QB 9/10 and that 1/10 who has success isn't and will not be available. We are literally a key Jarvis drop, a key Odell drop, and a pass interference call away from having an 8-3 record. Things completely out of his control. Just imagine if we could actually get a few stops and not commit a stupid penalty. The sky would be the limit.

If you wanna say he should have sat, I'd agree with anyone all day. Stefanski & Berry have the ultimate power. If they're going with Baker, that's on them. Keenum has zero reason to be here if that's the case.

If you want to blame him for our record then that's on you as a biased fan.
This is the post I needed today. Dude has come to our shit franchise, and with the help of others completely changed the culture.

Is he the best qb in the league, no. But there's obviously some things going on with him (injuries, confidence, whatever) and the rest of the team. I'd say the defense has also played like shit a majority of the season, and Stefanski hasn't had his best year game-planning/play-calling. Everyone expects Baker to play better. Not one person has written that he's played well this season. Baker said he "Played like shit" last week. I still believe he has the ability he's shown his whole football life.

With all the frustrating things going on, we're still in the hunt for the division and even a wild card spot with as crazy as the league has been this year. Any team can get hot and make a run. But it needs to start this week.

P5UWCTWQJBA73IMCLV6NBVRU7I.JPG
 

CBBI

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The main issue I have with the “He’s been hurt almost all year! Cut him some slack!” thing when it comes to Baker’s injuries is that the guy hasn’t actually played poorly in every single game since getting hurt.

If Mayfield was out there playing horrible all the time, I would be much more willing to write this season off due to injuries. But that actually hasn’t been the case at all. Mayfield has had multiple very good performances since getting hurt.

Just a few weeks after that being hurt so badly that he physically had to sit out a game, he went on to have arguably the best game of his four-year NFL career on 11/7 at Cincinnati.

Do you see what I’m getting at?

A lot of people are writing off his bad games and bad throws as nothing more than “oh he’s hurt”, but at the same time ignoring the fact that he’s actually had multiple very good performances and good throws since getting injured. And it just doesn’t work like that. You can't selectively excuse bad play when there's good play also happening.

If he’s healthy enough to have full series and even full games where he plays really well, then in my mind it’s absolutely not out of line for us as fans to say “well clearly he’s still capable of playing at a very high level even with these injuries” and subsequently be frustrated when he doesn’t do that.

Hell, this past week against Detroit was arguably the single worst game of his career and he still had 4 or 5 absolutely excellent throws. Throws that you could legitimately "you can't do it better than that" and not be wrong.

I know he can do it. I've seen him do it this year post-injuries. Why am I the big bad wolf for getting annoyed when he doesn't do it?
 

I'mWithDan

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Oh and go ahead and look at every QB this season. Statistically they have all shit the bed at one point or another. They were fortunate enough to have their defense show up on that same day (like we did against the Vikings).

The criticism has never been about "at one point or another". The criticism has been that he just flat out hasn't been good........as in what? 75% of the time? More?

My big qualm with Baker is, if you are physically unable to play, then sit down. Only he knows that, so if he is willingly going out there, I think a decent amount of criticism is fair. Should he get 100% of the blame? I mean, no.......but there is a lion's share that will be laid at the QB's feet if the results are bad.

If you want to blame him for our record then that's on you as a biased fan.

We've won 3 games where he has, objectively, played bad. QBR, Rating, whatever metric you want to use. I would guess no other QB in the league has had that luxury. Hell, Stafford is now 0-3 in games he hasn't lit the world on fire.

Certainly there are things that haven't helped, like drops......but relative to our results in games Mayfield has played downright bad, the record thing seems like a big positive, in relation to league performance with similar QB play. I posted the numbers a few pages back. We are 3-1 in his really bad QBR games.......the league average winning percentage for bottom 10 weekly performances was .182......if applied to a 4 game sample, that is only a expected win total of 0.7 games.

I think Baker is really fortunate in that regard, as it has stemmed the tide a little here. If we didn't get good team performances in those games, notably from the defense, we could easily be 4-7, 3-8. It cuts both ways here.

The main issue I have with the “He’s been hurt almost all year! Cut him some slack!” thing when it comes to Baker’s injuries is that the guy hasn’t actually played poorly in every single game since getting hurt.

That is where I am at too. The good play is obviously in there. Hell, against Cinci, he looked like he looked in the back half of 2020. It is obviously possible for him to play well banged up, he just doesn't seem to be able to sustain that level of play, which is so frustrating.
 
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Bkerr02

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The main issue I have with the “He’s been hurt almost all year! Cut him some slack!” thing when it comes to Baker’s injuries is that the guy hasn’t actually played poorly in every single game since getting hurt.

If Mayfield was out there playing horrible all the time, I would be much more willing to write this season off due to injuries. But that actually hasn’t been the case at all. Mayfield has had multiple very good performances since getting hurt.

Just a few weeks after that being hurt so badly that he physically had to sit out a game, he went on to have arguably the best game of his four-year NFL career on 11/7 at Cincinnati.

Do you see what I’m getting at?

A lot of people are writing off his bad games and bad throws as nothing more than “oh he’s hurt”, but at the same time ignoring the fact that he’s actually had multiple very good performances and good throws since getting injured. And it just doesn’t work like that. You can't selectively excuse bad play when there's good play also happening.

If he’s healthy enough to have full series and even full games where he plays really well, then in my mind it’s absolutely not out of line for us as fans to say “well clearly he’s still capable of playing at a very high level even with these injuries” and subsequently be frustrated when he doesn’t do that.

Hell, this past week against Detroit was arguably the single worst game of his career and he still had 4 or 5 absolutely excellent throws. Throws that you could legitimately "you can't do it better than that" and not be wrong.

I know he can do it. I've seen him do it this year post-injuries. Why am I the big bad wolf for getting annoyed when he doesn't do it?
Baker was finally getting healthy in that cinci game. His shoulder was gaining strength the fracture more than likely was healed or close to being 100% and he got comfortable with the harness. Then he got the heel injury. Which opened up another can of worms. If you have ever had a heel injury it is a bitch. It’s tough to plant your feet, certain movements are terribly painful. So I’m sure it is affecting his mechanics and mobility. I don’t think the shoulder will be much of an issue for the rest of the year unless he reinjuries it. Now it’s getting his heel and knee healthy. It sucks but it is what it is
 

Vee-Rex

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The main issue I have with the “He’s been hurt almost all year! Cut him some slack!” thing when it comes to Baker’s injuries is that the guy hasn’t actually played poorly in every single game since getting hurt.
Have you played sports at all? Genuine question, because this is usually not how injuries work.

Impactful injuries tend to disrupt consistency more than anything else, and you will see a lot more terrible performances than good. But any given day or two and you could still have some pretty strong performances, especially if pain management is the key factor here. Obviously, the type of injury is important here, but just because someone is injured doesn't mean they will always have bad performances. And if they have a good performance it doesn't mean they are healthy enough to consistently have those good performances.
 

ZooCrewDude

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Have you played sports at all? Genuine question, because this is usually not how injuries work.

Impactful injuries tend to disrupt consistency more than anything else, and you will see a lot more terrible performances than good. But any given day or two and you could still have some pretty strong performances, especially if pain management is the key factor here. Obviously, the type of injury is important here, but just because someone is injured doesn't mean they will always have bad performances. And if they have a good performance it doesn't mean they are healthy enough to consistently have those good performances.

Agreed... Injuries and performance are not some binary thing. Its easier to utilize basketball players as an example because there are fewer external factors to their performance that add noise to how we evaluate them. We OFTEN see basketball players return from injuries or play through injuries and have lost a little bit of that extra step on a drive, or lift on a jumper... but that doesn't stop them from lighting it up from time to time and having the kind of game that calls into question whether injury is really a factor. Hell, we saw that consistently from Garland in his first season+ (Jarratt Allen at the end of last year is another strong example).

That said, I don't think that injury is reason to absolve Baker of all shortcomings.. that would be the other extreme in how we evaluate him. But to take this year's 'injured' performance and stack it up to a healthy Baker from mid last year to week two of this year and say that injury should have no place in evaluating him because he was able to mix in a few good performances seems like a narrow approach.
 

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