At first glance, the start of the Cleveland Browns season against the Carolina Panthers seems like a real snooze. Then (que the Michael Myers theme music) you remember Baker Mayfield is the starting quarterback for the Panthers. Mayfield is a polarizing player that loves to play with a chip on his shoulder. He is the ultimate underdog when it comes to how he ended up a Panther. His history tells us that this game could be the perfect storm for his revenge on his former team.
The End of Baker
The Browns season ended last year with fingers being pointing in all different directions. Who was responsible for the disappointing 8-9 season? Was it the play calling, Mayfield’s injuries, OBJ debacle, or just terrible luck? After the season, the Browns met with Deshaun Watson which led to Baker Mayfield tweeting a farewell letter to the Browns fans. In July the Browns agreed to trade Mayfield to the Carolina Panthers for a 2024 conditional NFL draft pick. Mayfield signed with the Panthers for less money and beat out Sam Darnold for the starting quarterback position. Carolina starts the 2022 season in Carolina, Baker’s new backyard, against the Browns. What kind of messed up fairytale could this be on that Sunday at 1:00?
The Browns come into the season with a large amount of drama from the Deshaun Watson signing. Watson will be out until week 11 but the noise around the situation has to be distracting for the team. The Browns are planning on starting Jacoby Brissett, a solid quarterback, who has played for the Colts, Patriots, and Dolphins. The Browns have a history of not doing well in season opening games. SB Nation writer, Brendan Porath reports in his article, “The Sad History of the Cleveland Browns Season Openers,” that since 1999 the team has one winning game, which was a win by Jeff Garcia in 2004 against the Ravens at home. On top of all of this, they have a chippy Baker Mayfield trying to prove to the Cleveland Browns that they made a terrible decision.
The Browns do however have an exceptional defense who has experience with Mayfield’s strength and weaknesses. The Browns defensive line, being led by elite pass-rusher Myles Garrett, will be bringing the heat to Mayfield this opening Sunday. Denzel Ward and the rest of the secondary have the skill and knowledge to shut down Mayfield and his offense. What looked like a boring opening game in the Spring, has now come to an interesting showdown of revenge or another deflating moment for Baker Mayfield this year.
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