CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Baker Mayfield always measures himself against the best, and as a former #1 overall pick, he should. So here he is, heading into Year 3, knowing this season could not only define him as a franchise quarterback, but determine whether or not that tag sticks.
Think of other quarterbacks with great expectations. By Year 3, Jared Goff was in the Super Bowl. By Year 3, Patrick Mahomes had won one. But is that a fair comparison? Neither Mahomes nor Goff was forced to adapt under three different head coaches in three years.
And that is the challenge now for Baker Mayfield.
“It’s not an excuse for me,” Mayfield told me during a zoom meeting on Wednesday. “I’ve said it, the greatest thing about a quarterback is raising the productivity and level of those around him. The goal is every year is the Super Bowl, so, it is what is is. It’s not an excuse for me.”
It is fair to say that if it doesn't work now, under Kevin Stefanski, it may not work here for Mayfield. They've built him a play-action offense, suited to his skills. Opening the checkbook for two offensive tackles and a new tight end. Adding a fullback. Everything that would seem to play into Baker's strengths.
Now, as to when he’ll actually get to take his new offense out for a ride, who knows? It’ll likely be sometime this summer. Mayfield did host nine teammates for workouts down in Texas recently, and says they’re “getting back to basics”, but ... the Browns, more than most teams, are paying the price during this quarantine. Every team may be on hold, but not every team has a new head coach and a new system.
As for the hype, which is surfacing once again ... one national report claims the Browns have had one of the most productive offseason's in football. Cool. Doesn't matter. We've heard that before.
The only thing that matters is doing it in the Fall.
Baker has done that so many times. In college, and in his first season with the Browns. Now he needs to deliver, and take that solidifying step in Year 3.
“I have a different approach to this year,” says Mayfield, who seemingly was everywhere last summer in terms of attending events, doing commercials, and being high-profile. “It’s time to do our thing instead of talking about it.”