Is it possible that new Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski didn’t watch any film of his quarterback Baker Mayfield’s struggle-filled 2019 season? After a Week 1 blowout loss to division rival Baltimore, it feels like that.
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After a spectacular 2018 rookie season that saw Mayfield post a 79.9 passing grade and 40 big-time throws, his sophomore campaign lacked any consistency. He finished with only 28 big-time throws and a 71.7 passing grade. The sky was the limit for Baker as a rookie. He seemed able to play in any system and able to drop back and sling it all over the field. In 2019, he looked like the rookie quarterback he was supposed to be in 2018 — skittish and not willing to pull the trigger.
In Los Angeles, the inverse happened. Jared Goff’s 2016 rookie season under Jeff Fisher, and later John Fassel, was atrocious — he finished with a lowly 41.7 passing grade. Sean McVay came in the next season, took Goff under his wing and helped the young signal-caller produce a 75.0 grade before upping that to 83.6 in the Super Bowl run of 2018.
McVay has set up an offense that creates easy throws for Goff and doesn’t force him to do a lot of heavy lifting. There are screen passes, play-action bootlegs and quick passing concepts to free up players in the short passing game. McVay comes from the Mike Shanahan/Gary Kubiak offensive tree, where the outside zone running play is the base for everything they do.