Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield wants to play with a torn labrum in his left shoulder, is it due to foolishness or fearfulness?
There is one thing about Baker Mayfield that cannot be questioned and that is his toughness. Mayfield suffered a complete labrum tear in his left shoulder in Week 2 and has continued to play through the injury. It takes one tough individual to play though this injury. Considering that Mayfield’s shoulder continues to pop out, even on non-contact plays, that just shows how tough he is. Until Wednesday morning it was expected that Mayfield would start against Denver before being ruled out due to his injury. It is quite curious how adamant Mayfield was about playing considering the severity of the injury.
Playing through an injury which should probably end his season is certainly foolish. Especially considering that this injury can go from season-ending to career-altering . But is there something else at play? Perhaps fearfulness?
One thing has been abundantly clear since the beginning of last season, while Baker Mayfield has been efficient, he has not been dynamic in this offense. A lot of throws he is attempting and completing have been designed well by head coach Kevin Stefanski. Looking solely at this year Mayfield has been very erratic and some of that has to do with the injury. Other reasons for his inconsistent play include indecisiveness, poor footwork, a lack of vision, and no feel for the offense.
But why is Mayfield so insistent on playing through this injury?
Is it possible that if Case Keenum comes in and plays at a similar level or even better that it could impact his financial future? Is it a fear that a similar or better performance from Keenum shows that it has been the offensive scheme all along and Mayfield is less responsible for his production than people think? Maybe Keenum finally makes Odell Beckham Jr. effective in this offense, something Mayfield has failed to do up to this point. Keenum does have experience in the Stefanski scheme and Mayfield has struggled locating open receivers, most notably Beckham, leaving a lot to be desired in the passing game.
If Beckham suddenly starts looking like the player the Browns were promised upon acquiring him prior to 2019, what does that say about Mayfield? Suddenly Mayfield does not have such a firm hold on the starting quarterback position and that could put his future in Cleveland in question. That next contract no longer has the large dollar figure or length that many projected Mayfield to receive. While it is not the same as being Wally Pipped (due to the fact Keenum is older than Mayfield), it is an interesting comparison nonetheless.
So when it comes to Baker Mayfield being foolish or fearful, perhaps it is both.