Yesterday, I touched on how ill-received the Cleveland Browns‘ newfound swagger appears to be. It seems these complaints have since started to narrow down to a singular player.
To the shock of none, it’s Baker Mayfield.
The overflowing confidence of Cleveland’s brash rookie quarterback, as well as his critique of former coach Hue Jackson, is rubbing people the wrong way. It’s becoming a popular debate show routine to bash Mayfield while questioning his maturity. Many who are calling him out have been voicing their displeasure since well before the Browns drafted him.
Frankly, I don’t know why there are people still making this their hill to die on. This is who Mayfield is, who he’s always been. To continue wagging your finger at him and complaining about how you think he should behave is just a waste of time.
I’ll admit, I’m not shocked to hear the constant commentary on Mayfield. I figured his actions during and after Sunday’s domination of the Cincinnati Bengals would catch national attention. In fact, most of the talking heads chastising Mayfield for what they perceive as unnecessary behavior have been doing so for months now, making the comments all the less surprising.
What I’m thrown off by, though, is the belief these media members seem to have that Mayfield will ever listen to them. Sure, we’re talking about people who’ve made calling out Cleveland’s QB part of their shtick. Still, the manor at which they’re making these comments implies they expect Mayfield to acknowledge this criticism, and eventually change his ways as a result.
That won’t be happening any time soon.
While some have seen Mayfield’s attitude as an issue, others (particularly his teammates) see it as a sign of leadership. He’s expressing the kind of arrogance those in the locker room rally behind, mainly because he can back it up.
It’s something we haven’t seen with the Browns in quite some time. As a result, it’s a habit of his which won’t be dying off just because ESPN pundits take issue with it.
As mentioned, people have aired grievances about Mayfield’s brashness since he became a rising star at Oklahoma. They saw his 2017 arrest video, his infamous crotch-grab against Kansas and decided right then and there he was an immature kid, making a point to call out any future instances they falsely felt proved this point.
It’s why Mayfield has been catching heat for expressing disapproval for Jackson joining the Bengals coaching staff just days after Cleveland fired him. It’s why media members are looking down on him, telling him he needs to grow up, demanding he reel it in.
None of these people seem to realize Mayfield won’t be changing his approach no matter how many times they call him out. None of them seem to understand they’re making a big stink about something which isn’t even remotely negatively affecting his play or his team.
Not only are these talking heads wasting their time, they’re also blatantly confusing immaturity with overwhelming confidence.
This isn’t to say a lack of maturity is never an issue. However, if you want a better example of what this looks like, just look at the player Mayfield was continuously (and ludicrously) compared to coming into the draft – Johnny Manziel.
In Manziel, the Browns had a player who cared more about partying than practice. Who’s since admitted he didn’t understand the X’s and O’s of football, nor did he feel any need to try. Who was such an off-field disaster he got bounced from the NFL in just two years and hasn’t been back since.
A player who can’t control maturity issues lets it bleed into their preparation and work habits. This is where the line is – and always has been – drawn between Mayfield and Manziel. It’s also an issue many still don’t realize, or choose not to (as proven in the Colin Cowherd clip above).
I doubt this changes anytime soon. It’s clear there are many who will make chastising Mayfield part of their daily routine, no matter how many times he insists he’s never going to change his ways.
If they want to keep wasting their time waxing poetic about how much of an issue Mayfield’s attitude is, I’m not going to stop them. I just hope they realize the same confidence they think is a problem has instead been a shot in the arm to a Browns franchise which was in dire need of it.