Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield is a hard-nosed leader, but will that tough love catch up to him?
You’ve gotta love a gritty leader on an NFL team. Typically, those who are hard-nosed and who ‘tell it like it is’ are on the defensive side of the ball. However, that’s not always the case. The Cleveland Browns are finding this out first hand as their second-year quarterback, Baker Mayfield likes to speak his mind, whether he should or shouldn’t.
I’m not here to tell a player how to be a leader, but I also understand just how much the ‘tell it like it is’ approach can be detrimental to a squad. Before, the Cleveland Browns didn’t have anybody at quarterback who could do an ounce of bragging. After all, they didn’t have a serviceable quarterback who could genuinely lead to team to win a handful of games. But with former first-overall pick Baker Mayfield, the Browns are under new leadership.
This Browns team currently has the juice. Although outside of Baker’s decent rookie season, and John Dorsey’s miraculous turnaround in the front office, the Browns really haven’t accomplished anything significant… yet. In 2019, the Browns are expected to be a better squad — no doubt about that. But they need to make sure they can get their chemistry right in order to do that. Sure, they have tons of talent on board, but with talent can bring big egos. And if a quarterback can’t keep everybody satisfied, this thing can blow up quickly.
Slow your role, Baker…
Why am I suddenly gunning for Baker’s leadership ways? Well simply because he pulled a ‘Big Ben.’ As Browns’ veteran running back Duke Johnson continues to address trade rumors, he’s openly honest with the situation. Johnson’s been made aware that for the past year or so, the Browns have been actively shopping him around, seeking for a trade partner.
So far, no luck on that front for Cleveland, but at least Johnson is trying to get back to work without any issues. Unfortunately, there are issues, though. Johnson mentioned on Tuesday that he feels awkward after his absence and demanding a trade, and he’s honest about not being sure how to move on from everything without getting a fresh start elsewhere. It’s all understandable for an outsider looking in, but Captain Baker Mayfield isn’t buying it.
While shrugging it off, Mayfield had a strong way of suggesting Johnson is the only one with issues in Cleveland. He may be right in a way, but as a leader, he’s not doing a perfect job of encouraging one of his guy’s to just go out on the field and get the job done. What Mayfield did recently won’t cause a major locker room rift, but his idea to throw a teammate under the bus pretty much mirrors the issue with what’s been going on in Pittsburgh regarding Ben Roethlisberger and company.
Upsetting Duke Johnson is one thing. But what is Baker Mayfield going to do when somebody like Odell Beckham Jr. loses his composure on the sidelines? We’ve seen more than a handful of blowups from Beckham when things didn’t go his way in New York — so how will that get handled in Cleveland? Sure, it’s all fine and dandy now in OTAs between the two, but Baker’s tough love could really clash with Beckham’s explosiveness later on down the line. It’s surely something to keep an eye out for.