Baker Mayfield isn’t fully healthy, and we’ve spent plenty of time on his variety of ailments to show that. But according to those who see him every day, he’s finally able to make plays with his legs again and showing signs of looking like himself.
Mayfield has battled his share of injuries, from his shoulder to his foot to his knee to his groin. But his knee is better, his shoulder fracture has healed and his heel bruise has improved.
As one source said, he’s feeling as good as he has in a month. Another source described him as having no limitations. The last time he played the Ravens (as he does Sunday night), he averaged more than six yards per rush and had a TD. It was valuable.
If Mayfield can get back to his usual self, it would be a big boost for Cleveland. Of course, nearing the final year of his contract in 2022, his future is a big topic. And every game, it seems, sparks a debate.
However, as one source cautioned, every game is not a referendum on Mayfield. Every game isn’t sparking a discussion in Berea to keep him. The issue will be settled when it is, but until then, they just want him to clear his head, focus and play.
To be sure, he didn’t play well last week. Even after a win, it was tumultuous. He struggled against the Lions while battling a slew of injuries, missing some throws but also making some big ones. Then, he declined to address the media after the game.
He received a warning letter from the NFL about it, indicating another postgame skip would result in a fine. The letter noted that meeting with the media was part of the job of a starting quarterback and leader — while also noting he has been an “outstanding example” of a player consistently available, both in good and bad times.
Mayfield talked the next day and again later in the week.
He’ll have Kareem Hunt back today, and that helps. Hunt will be the third-down back as he gets reintroduced to the lineup after five weeks away. And save for receiver Anthony Schwartz, it’s the only time since Week 1 they’ve had a full lineup. That will also help.
For Mayfield, toughness has never been a question. It’s just execution, and the coaches will work to get him some easy throws early to help him get back into it.
The hope is for the Browns to see the best version of their QB tonight.
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