Hope springs eternal—or so the old saying goes.
It’s different in Cleveland. On the shores of Lake Erie, hope springs for about four minutes until it’s drowned in a sea of misery and despair. The hapless Browns are coming off the worst two-year stretch of the expansion era, a 1-31 nightmare the team can’t seem to wake up from.
It’s a testimonial to the resilience and loyalty of Cleveland’s long-suffering fanbase that so many are hopeful of a big leap forward in 2018. There’s optimism the Browns finally found the franchise quarterback that has eluded them for the better part of two decades when they drafted Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield No. 1 overall April 26.
But whether it’s in regard to that shiny new signal-caller or the rebuilt team as a whole, that optimism needs to be tinged with a healthy dose of realism. There are a couple more old sayings that most assuredly apply to the Browns in 2018.
Patience is a virtue.
And Rome wasn’t built in a day—especially when you’re building from smoking ruins up.
There’s been quite a bit written about the decision by Browns general manager John Dorsey to select Mayfield over the likes of USC’s Sam Darnold or Wyoming’s Josh Allen. Much of it has been critical—after all, Mayfield is barely six feet tall, played in the stats-wacky Big 12 and had dustups both on and off the field that called into question his maturity level.nfl jerseys cheap china
Mayfield told Russell Wilson (another vertically challenged quarterback) during an episode of ESPN’s QB2QB that he’s grown accustomed to the doubters.
“If I was worried too much about it, I’d be worried about the wrong things,” Mayfield said. “But I do use some of it as motivation. I can listen to all the people patting me on the back, or I can listen to the people saying I need to get better. I know I need to get better, or else there would be nobody saying that.”
However, it’s worth noting, per Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com, that Dorsey, assistant GM Eliot Wolf and personnel consultant Scot McCloughan (all of whom have extensive front-office experience) had Mayfield graded as the No. 1 quarterback in this year’s class—independent of one another.
According to Cabot, so did a fistful of other NFL teams she spoke to.
Yes, Mayfield is short by NFL standards. Depending on who you ask, he’s either confident or arrogant. But he’s also athletic and accurate.
Baker Mayfield does two things the Browns haven’t seen in a quarterback in a good long while: He makes plays and wins football games.
The thing is, if everything goes according to plan, we aren’t going to see Mayfield in a game that counts for a while anyway.
Head coach Hue Jackson made it clear nothing will be handed to Mayfield this summer.cheap nfl jerseys china
“He is starting No. 3 right now,” Jackson said in a post-draft press conference. “He has got to work his way up. He has to earn it. We are not going to give anybody anything. Draft status is just that. You still got to earn the right to play for the Cleveland Browns, and that is what we are going to create here.”
Mayfield isn’t going to stay No. 3 for long. And it’s possible he’ll take training camp by storm and make Tyrod Taylor the latest member of the Matt Flynn all-stars. authentic nfl jerseys Jackson left that door open.