Here we go again, it's Baker Mayfield 2.0 as Deshaun Watson laughs off a sore shoulder so he can play against the Baltimore Ravens in game four of the 2023 season.
Going back in time to 2021, what was never reported about Baker Mayfield except by Sportscam Detective is that Mayfield insisted on starting every game after Case Keenum proved he could win. Case Keenum and D'Ernest Joshson combined to run off the final 5 minutes and 12 seconds of the fourth quarter clock against Denver, choosing to not score even though the Browns were inside the 10 yard line with Johnson moving the ball at will.
The 5 min 12 second 4th quarter game ending drive by Case Keenum and De'Ernest Johnson was a wake-up call to Browns fans, who year after year have had to grimace through late game penalties, interceptions, dropped throws and missed field goals, when what they really wanted to see was a nice, long drive to run out the clock. Keenum and Johnson's performance was cathartic, and something that apparently motivated Mayfield to ensure Keenum did not start another game until the final game of the 2021 season, which Keenum also won.
Mayfield started every game after the Keenum led Denver victory while playing with multiple injuries. Perhaps the 41-16 Shellacking the Browns and Mayfield gave Cincinnati emboldened Mayfield to continue to play though the pain. Although it should be noted that it was the Browns defense that converted a potential Cincinnati Touchdown into a 100 yard Denzel Ward Interception return, a 14 point swing on one play, plus a 70 yard Nick Chubb rushing touchdown that turned what could have been a close 27-23 game, into a 41-16 route.
It appears the Cleveland Browns have gone from a young QB star who at that time had narcissism issues, to a veteran being paid so much money he has to take the field every week to justify his contract.
Whereas with Baker Mayfield it was Baker not giving a Veteran a chance to help Baker heal and the Browns keep their momentum, now it will be the well paid Veteran not allowing a rookie, Dorian Thompson-Robinson, who has all the skills to run an offense competently enough to win games with the NFL's top defense, to be the back-up that allows Watson to properly heal.
The Browns are once again in a lose lose situation. If they allow Deshaun Watson to be Baker Mayfield 2.0, we will witness a team that most likely falls short while their well paid, star QB plays at less than 90% of his ability as he plays through nagging injuries that take their toll.
However, if the Browns convince Deshaun Watson to let his back-up take the load off, then people will wonder why the Browns paid so much for a Veteran who needs help from his back-ups.
Ironically, Dorian-Thompson Robinson is listed 3rd on the Browns QB depth chart, when he has all the makings of a Justin Herbert, a QB who stepped in as a rookie and did a very competent job.
Browns coach Kevin Stefanski is reliving Baker Mayfield all over again, only in reverse. Stefanski is the one who has to step in and assure Watson he is the QB even if Watson has to take a week or two off to heal from one mild injury before the mild injury manifests into additional injuries.
Los Angeles Emmy winning Producer Alessandro Machi combines his editing, camera and observational skills to provide unique insights into the World of Sports.