Baker Mayfield facing big test in second half of season

Browns quarterback needs to prove he’s a franchise player

Baker Mayfield pre-Texans

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Of all the tests facing the Browns in the final eight weeks, the biggest is the one facing Baker Mayfield. How he plays the rest of this third year will determine what happens next year, when the Browns have to decide if they’ll lock him in for a fifth year at around $25 mil. In other words, if he’s their franchise quarterback.

The Browns won’t tackle that one yet, because they don’t have to.

“Definitely understand the question,” General Manager Andrew Berry said last week. “Honestly, I really don’t get too caught up in that narrative. All I know is that Baker’s played well and done a nice job in the first eight weeks.”

And I certainly don’t expect Baker to crumble under the pressure. He doesn’t do that. He’ll embrace it. But he’ll also have to earn it.

He’s certainly shown flashes of that.

“Done some good things to put us in position to win,” Mayfield said. “But I think some of the turnovers were things that can easily be fixed. To me that’s a positive.”

“I think he’s ready to ascend,” head coach Kevin Stefanski. “I think all of our our players, the main focus is ‘we have to get better’. As individuals and as a team, we have to get better. That was our mantra coming off the bye. We can’t stay the same. I’d put Baker right in there. He has to continue to get better, and I think comfort level with what we’re doing, my comfort level and understanding him and all of our players will allow us to put game plans together to play to our guys' strengths.”

“We knew going in that there was going to be some growth in the first half of the season,” offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt said. “I think he’s gotten better each week.”

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