Daryl Ruiter-92.3 The Fan

Why Baker Mayfield isn't the No. 1 QB and addressing expectations

Our take on the 2 hottest buttons concerning Cleveland's football team

June 22, 2018
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Daryl Ruiter-Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) – It is June and there isn’t much to talk about with the Browns now on summer vacation other than why the No. 1 pick isn’t the starting quarterback and reacting to Christian Kirksey’s playoff proclamation tweet.

So, let’s address both right here.

Baker Mayfield isn’t the No. 1 QB on the depth chart for a multitude of reasons but here are the 3 most important ones.

First, he’s not the best player at the position right now. That’s not to say in 6 weeks or 6 months he won’t be, but as of today he is not based on what we observed during 3 OTA practices and the mandatory minicamp.

Second, Tyrod Taylor affords the organization the luxury of taking their time getting Mayfield ready to play. That is a good thing for a franchise that has chewed up and spit out 28 different starting quarterbacks, including 9 previous draft picks, since 1999 to have.

Third, having lost 34 of their last 35 games, the Browns are trying to win some games this year instead of focusing on the development of young players while piling up losses and high draft picks. That is why Taylor and 22 other players were added this offseason so players like Mayfield don’t have to play immediately unless they are the best player at their respective position.

Now to Kirksey’s tweet to mark his words that the Browns will be a playoff team this year.

Every player on the roster should feel that way, but to be fair to them, expecting that the Browns will make the playoffs this year is unrealistic and frankly, unfair.

The goals this season should be as follows:

1. Win a game.

If it weren’t for Jamie Meder, the Browns would be currently riding a 35-game losing streak dating back to the end of the 2015 season, including back-to-back 0-16 campaigns. A Week 1 loss to the Steelers will match the longest losing streak in franchise history – 18 games, previously set prior to Meder’s Christmas eve 2016 block.  

2. Win a divisional game.

The last divisional victory came in overtime on Oct. 11, 2015 in Baltimore when Josh McCown went nuts and threw for a franchise-record 457 yards. They’ve lost their last 17 within the AFC North since.

3. Win 4 games to equal the win total from the last 3 seasons combined.

The last 3 years have seen the Browns set a new standard for futility. 3-13, 1-15, 0-16 = 4-44. They went from unwatchable awful to the absolute worst ever. Just getting back to the annual 4-12, 5-11 juggernaut they used to be would be one giant leap for the franchise.  

4. Don’t finish last in the division, again.

This year marks the 20th season that the Browns will play since being reconstituted as an NFL franchise in 1999. They’ve finished last in their division in 1999, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017. For those of you counting, that's 15 last place finishes. It'd be an achievement if they could avoid a 16th in 20.

5. Win at least 7 games.

In each of the Browns’ last-place finishes, they lost more than 10 games in each and every one of them. They’ve lost 12 games in a season 5 times, 11 games 4 times, 13 twice and 10, 14, 15 and 16 once.

So, once those 5 goals are achieved, then we can start to aim higher and set the bar where it is set for the other 31 NFL franchises.

Because these are the Browns, let’s start small with expectations while not hating on players for showing their confidence and setting their own, no matter how unrealistic they might appear to be to the rest of us.