The 2020 season for the Cleveland Browns will have a multitude of storylines throughout the year. How will head coach Kevin Stefanski do in his first year with the Browns? Did Andrew Berry make all the right moves to build this roster? Can the Browns right the ship after last year’s disappointing finish? Is this a make or break year for Baker Mayfield? All of these questions have been talked about through Browns Nation, but the Mayfield one is arguably the most important. Today, Downtown Browns will focus on Baker Mayfield and how the 2020 season will be the year he quiets those talking negatively about him.
Turning the Page From 2019
The 2019 season is one that Browns fans and players, especially Baker Mayfield, want to forget. After an off-season where the Browns got Odell Beckham Jr. from the New York Giants and was fielding a stacked offense, it didn’t end up as planned.
It’s well known that the Browns coaching staff and some management didn’t get the team set up to play from the start, and it showed. The team thought they could win on talent alone, and it didn’t happen. The game management went on the shoulders of former head coach Freddie Kitchens, and it showed that he did not know how to manage games correctly. There were many times players were seen yelling at Kitchens in frustration because of bad play calling. In the end, he was let go at the end of the season where expectations were high for the Browns.
Granted, Mayfield didn’t have a great sophomore season for the Browns, but it wasn’t terrible either by any stretch. He did throw 21 interceptions, which was ranked second among all quarterbacks in the league by Pro Football Focus. But it wasn’t all his fault; playcalling didn’t help, and given the fact that there was no clear communication from Kitchens to his players, it was clear the locker room was lost to Kitchens down the stretch.
Although, with newly required head coach Kevin Stefanski and GM Andrew Berry, things are on the up for Mayfield, and the Browns going into the 2020 season.
2020: The Year Baker Quiets the Haters
If Browns’ fans on social media have been paying attention, which a good amount has been, it’s evident that Baker Mayfield has been quieter than last year. There haven’t been tons of commercials with Mayfield in them like that year, plus he hasn’t been talked about in the media much either. It seems like Mayfield is more focused than ever to learn the new offensive scheme than talk about how great they are. Recently with the last couple weeks, Mayfield did talk to local media about why he hasn’t been talking to media much this offseason:
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) May 27, 2020
By Mayfield’s takes, it’s clear that he and the whole team don’t want to talk about how good they are on paper — they’d rather let their work do the talking.
Newly acquired offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt has been on Cleveland Browns Daily and other sources, and a recent revelation from him was that Mayfield has been in Zoom meetings with other positions that he wasn’t required to attend, even talking to other guys in other position rooms. At one point he flew in guys to meet him in Austin, Texas to go over the playbook as well.
The 2020 Baker Mayfield is already showing a maturity that has been building since he joined the Browns in 2018. This year seems to be the Baker Mayfield that took 2019 as a humbling experience and will right the wrong in 2020 to show people that he is the franchise quarterback that the Browns and fans believe that he can and will become.
There has been a vast amount of analysts around the league saying that yes the 2020 season will be a make or break year for Mayfield, but regardless of how it goes, the team and fans need to keep the faith with Mayfield going past the 2020 season. The Browns have been going through so many quarterbacks since 1999 that even if Baker has a decent year, he needs to be a guy who the team can keep building around. Rome wasn’t built in a day, so the Browns and it’s fans can’t expect Super Bowl or busy every year. It takes time to build a team.
Furthermore, it seems like people forget that Mayfield set the rookie touchdown record back in 2018 after playing in 13.5 games that year. He has 49 touchdowns in two seasons. That isn’t bad for a guy who took over a team after Tyrod Taylor got hurt in the Thursday Night game against the New York Jets. There was a ton of expectations on the team last year but it cannot be placed on Mayfield as the sole reason for it going sideways.
Taking a look at his past, he was a walk-on at Texas Tech, transferred to Oklahoma, won the Heisman, drafted first overall in the 2018 draft, and set a new rookie touchdown record. Wherever Mayfield goes, success follows him. Mayfield isn’t used to losing, but it’s clear that he took 2019 as a humbling experience, and it seems to have the mindset to walk the walk instead of talking the talk. He’s been putting in the work, and it’s clear that 2020 will be the year Mayfield leads the Browns to the playoffs.
Overall, the 2020 season will be a massive year not just for Baker Mayfield, but for the Browns as a whole. The Browns brought in Kevin Stefanski to lead the way along with Alex Van Pelt who can manage quarterbacks, and an offense. Furthermore, GM Andrew Berry has surrounded Mayfield with talents like Austin Hooper in free agency along with Jack Conklin and Jendrick Wills in the draft. The wide outside zone scheme plays well into Mayfield’s style of play that can benefit him in the long run.
There is no denying that the Browns have set Mayfield up for success, and it seems like this off-season he has taken advantage of it. The 2019 season is behind Mayfield, and he’s using that year as motivation to show people he’s the guy that the Browns took back in 2018 to help lead this team to the playoffs and beyond.
Browns fans should expect an excellent season from Baker Mayfield and the Browns this year. QB1 looks ready to let the work do the talking. Now all that’s left, is for the season to get here.