Chill on Baker
It’s normal to overreact to what one sees in exhibition games in the National Football League.
Take, for example, the overreaction to Baker Mayfield’s professional debut the other night in the exhibition victory over the New York Giants.
Sure he looked good. Against the second- and third-stringers of the New York defense. As noted here, he was poised, confident and looked as though he belonged.
But let us not get carried away with his performance in one game, especially one that didn’t count. It was only one game. Let that sink in.
Of course, Browns fans want Mayfield to be the franchise quarterback this team has longed for the last nearly two decades. But one meaningless game is not the be all and end all to that problem.
Same situation in New York where Sam Darnold wowed the fans – and media – in his NFL debut with the Jets. Again, one good game that means nothing is not necessarily the answer.
Not when you compete against many players who will be looking for work in less than a month. Not when the speed and quickness of the game is nothing compared to the way it will be when the games count.
It is easy, of course, to elevate Mayfield’s performance in one’s mind and think, “Yep, the wait is finally over. The franchise savior has finally arrived.” Long suffering starved fans of this franchise will latch on to anything that resembles hope.
One game, people. One game.
Mayfield will get plenty of snaps in the next three exhibitions and his performances figure to be uneven now that future opposing teams have tape and can game plan accordingly.
Keep in mind Mayfield is one of the shortest quarterbacks in the NFL. If you looked closely, he delivered many passes from the pocket by elevating himself on tiptoes just as he released the football so he could see over the line of scrimmage.
His toughness and competitive nature is what attracted General Manager John Dorsey to Mayfield. Size was not a factor. It was his character and makeup, as well as his vast talent, that moved the GM to make the kid the No. 1 selection in the college football draft.
It remains to be seen, though, whether he can duplicate the feats of Seattle’s Russell Wilson and Drew Brees of New Orleans, a couple of NFL pipsqueaks who own Super Bowl championship rings. It’s way, way, way too early on that one.
Head coach Hue Jackson has made it perfectly clear that Tyrod Taylor will be his starting quarterback. That will not change for the immediate future, no matter how well Mayfield performs.
What Browns fans should hope for is consistency from him in the next three exhibitions. Don’t get too high when he does well; don’t get too low when he encounters trouble. Keep an even keel.
If the kid can achieve and then maintain a level of consistency in his play, that will make it much easier for Jackson to make a change if one is warranted.
In the meantime, chill and enjoy the ups and downs as Mayfield continues his transition to the NFL. His time will come soon enough. The anointment is still in the future.-->