Mayfield told reporters earlier this week that he expected to play against Denver despite dealing with a torn left labrum. The Browns' starting quarterback initially suffered the injury in Week 2 and then re-aggravated the injury in the team's Week 6 loss to Arizona.
Veteran quarterback Case Keenum will start in Mayfield's absence.
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“Baker fought really hard to play. He’s a competitor and obviously wants to be out there but just couldn’t make it on a short week,” Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski told reporters Thursday. “We know he will continue to do everything in his power to return as quickly as possible.”
Keenum will make his first start since Week 17 of the 2019 season when he led the Washington Football Team out in a 47-16 loss against the Dallas Cowboys. The Browns signed Keenum in 2020 to serve as Mayfield’s primary backup.
Cleveland will also be without Pro Bowl running back Nick Chubb, who will miss a second consecutive game with a calf injury. Kareem Hunt is also out after being placed on injured reserve with a calf injury of his own.
The Browns are still favored over the Broncos by three points despite Mayfield’s absence. The Browns could also be without wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (shoulder) and offensive tackles Jedrick Wills Jr. (ankle) and Jack Conklin (knee), all of whom missed practice Monday and Tuesday.
Mayfield's 70.4 PFF overall grade ranks 25th among 36 qualifying quarterbacks this season. His 70.4 PFF passing grade ranks 23rd among that same group of players.
Keenum has a 64.7 overall grade and 62.7 passing grade over the last four seasons, 41st and 43rd, respectively, among quarterbacks with at least 500 snaps over that span. Mayfield has an 85.1 overall grade (17th) and 83.1 passing grade (17th) in his four-year NFL career.
Baker Mayfield vs. Case Keenum: PFF stats since 2018
|PFF overall grade||85.1||64.7|
|PFF passing grade||83.1||62.7|
|Big-time throw %||6.1%||3.4%|
|Yards per attempt||7.5||6.7|