Last season, the Cleveland Browns had to overcome quite a few significant challenges.
One major challenge being that their secondary had trouble stopping any offensive unit.
That means, quarterback Baker Mayfield and the offense were forced to pick up the slack.
Then to make things more difficult, superstar wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. went down mid-season.
Despite all those issues, the Browns were able to make the playoffs and survive the first round.
A big reason why the Browns succeeded was because of the play of Mayfield under center.
Slinging It Deep
At first glance, the Browns are a run-heavy offense with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt leading the way.
Head coach Kevin Stefanski stayed true to his run-first instincts, but that didn’t stop Mayfield from going out there and making plays.
Last season, Mayfield finished with 3,563 passing yards, 26 touchdowns, and eight interceptions in 16 games.
He looked like a superstar during the second half of the season and helped lead Cleveland to the postseason.
The loss of OBJ hurt the Browns’ offense, but it didn’t stop Mayfield from leading the league in deep pass completion % last season.
Highest Completion Percentage on Deep Passes — (Powered by @FTNData)
◾️Baker Mayfield (51.9%)
◾️Deshaun Watson (50.0%)
◾️Derek Carr (47.3%)
◾️Josh Allen (44.8%)
◾️Teddy Bridgewater (44.4%)
*Min 50 deep attempts
⚙️: https://t.co/KN60Kmnzra pic.twitter.com/awQZgssTus
— FTNNetwork (@FTNNetwork) August 20, 2021
It’s pretty incredible that Mayfield was able to do that given the fact his best receiver went down mid-season.
Despite that, the players around Mayfield stepped up and he didn’t miss a beat.
Last season was Mayfield’s first year in Stefanski’s system and he made major improvements.
It appears that the sky is the limit if Mayfield keeps slinging it like he did last season.
Will It Continue In 2021?
What Mayfield was able to accomplish last season was incredible.
However, the biggest question is going to be whether or not he can do it again next season.
The expectations are going to be through the roof after what everyone witnessed in 2020.
Although, Mayfield will get OBJ back and hopefully 100 percent healthy for Week 1.
It’s also worth noting that they have possibly a sleeper receiver in Donovan Peoples-Jones.
The second-year receiver has been impressive in camp and could force himself into a weekly role in Cleveland.
Outside of those two, the Browns drafted one of the fastest players in college football in Auburn wide receiver Anthony Schwartz.
Browns just got the fastest player in the NFL Draft, Anthony Schwartz💨
— PFF College (@PFF_College) May 1, 2021
On paper, the deep threat options are limitless for Mayfield heading into next season.
Despite that, it’s unlikely that the Browns offensive gameplan changes at all.
This team is going to be a run-heavy offense, but that didn’t stop Mayfield in 2020.
Now, he has more weapons and has more experience in Stefanski’s system.
Mayfield could very well end up leading the NFL again in deep pass completion and possibly a handful of other accolades along the way.
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