Retired NFL great Drew Brees has always taken some interest in the Cleveland Browns‘ Baker Mayfield.
The pair grew up and attended high school barely 10 miles apart in Texas.
And their early career paths share some uncanny similarities.
Brees once preached patience to the rookie Mayfield, telling him to absorb everything as he waited for his time.
Drew Brees on this throw by Baker Mayfield “not many quarterbacks in league can make that type of throw.” #Browns pic.twitter.com/kQQDJkPC9g
— Tyler Johnson (@T_johnson_TJ) August 30, 2021
So it was fitting that Colin Cowherd took advantage of Brees’ appearance on his show this week to ask about Mayfield.
Cowherd specifically asked Brees how Mayfield should handle the stretch of negativity surrounding him this week.
Brees’ football advice didn’t offer much insight or suggest an obvious change to Mayfield’s current approach.
But the future Hall of Famer hit on some important off-field suggestion that Mayfield might find tough to follow.
Brees: “Don’t Worry About What People Say”
After a brief discussion about how the Browns win football games, Brees alluded to this week’s prevalent issue.
Baker Mayfield is known to wear his heart on his sleeve, but he has never taken well to criticism.
To that end, Drew Bree passed this on for Mayfield to consider:
“Don’t worry about what these people say who have no idea what they are talking about. Just go out there and find a way to win for your team.”
Brees comes from a different generation, one that didn’t have to worry about social media early in his career.
Baker Mayfield with some words on the boos 😮
— Pro Football Network (@PFN365) November 22, 2021
There was a day when football players were cautioned not to read newspapers or watch TV sports reports.
It is much more difficult to ignore comments and critiques when they come at you 24/7 on your own phone.
But Brees’ advice also applies to more intimate settings, like boos from the crowd or chants while he is in the huddle.
Baker Mayfield has enough things to worry about without letting fans and reporters get into his head.
Brees: “Don’t Worry About Statistics”
Human nature, especially in sports, leads to a lot of labeling and comparison.
And for a quarterback who wants to be a star, the “game manager” label hurts.
Brees had some fantastic statistical seasons during his long, Hall of Fame-worthy, career.
#Browns QB Baker Mayfield said it’s a great part of the season to have running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt back together. It hasn’t happened since Chargers game
— Nate Ulrich (@ByNateUlrich) November 24, 2021
But toward the end, he was just as happy to hand the ball to Alvin Kamara most of the day.
“Even when you’re winning, there are folks who want to harp on statistics that are important to them. And they’re trying to make it important to you. But at the end of the day, who cares? We found a way to win the game.”
We can speculate whether a 26-year-old version of Drew Brees would follow retired Drew Brees’ advice.
#Browns had third-and-1 at Detroit 39. Tried deep shot and RT Blake Hance was called for questionable holding. Then Baker Mayfield sacked. Punt
— Scott Petrak ct (@ScottPetrak) November 21, 2021
But later on, he says handing the ball off 50 times a game and avoiding mistakes is the Browns’ winning game plan.
Brees recognizes how throwing away a few passes to avoid losses limits Mayfield’s QBR dramatically.
But good decisions, taking care of the ball, and hitting a few third-down conversions make Mayfield a winning quarterback.
Brees: “Worry About Your Growth & Development”
Kevin Stefanski’s offensive approach is hard to recognize compared to last season’s attack.
The coach has cited defenses for forcing some changes and how injuries impact some areas.
But everything seems to affect Baker Mayfield’s opportunities, sometimes limiting his stronger points.
#Browns Alex Van Pelt said he just left a meeting with Baker Mayfield about the game plan, said he's handling things great.
— Camryn Justice (@camijustice) November 4, 2021
Brees might have recognized that when he said this to Cowherd:
“So much about young quarterbacks is about your personal growth and development. That comes at different stages and circumstances around you can affect it as well.”
Baker Mayfield rode emotions to a 5-3 record under Gregg Williams and “lost himself” when adversity hit in 2019.
#Browns QB Baker Mayfield: "The past couple years have been a roller coaster of emotions, not having as much success…I lost myself in that." Says he wasn't able to be who he needed to be for teammates and he's found himself, again
— Keith Britton (@KeithBritton86) August 14, 2020
Under Stefanski, he took an offense tailored to his success and managed to give Cleveland a rare playoff appearance.
Adversity has returned, albeit in the form of a 6-5 record and a playoff appearance riding on Mayfield’s damaged body.
But Brees recognizes the Cleveland Browns’ 2021 success depends largely on Mayfield’s ability to stay engaged this time around.
Jim Willcox says
I support baker Mayfield 100%.
I do 100%
Jeff White says
Thanks for reporting on Brees’ insights and advice for Baker. The big mouth talking heads, who never played the game and are only concerned with ratings, live to tear a player down. Be true to yourself is what Brees is saying. Block out the loud voices in the room and just play ball to the best of your ability. Browns fans love an underdog!
Roly Poly Man says
So true. Mayfield is a fighter, good or bad, you can tell by his play he’s trying his best to make a positive play offensively. If the other players get behind Baker and play as a TEAM, as they say 53 brothers are hard to beat. Everyone do there jobs and learn to eliminate petty mistakes I.e. lining up offsides etc. Get the odds of winning on your side.
Baker hasn’t been doing well lately, but this team is not supposed to be carried on his shoulders , some of the people signed this spring have not done their jobs and the coaching leaves alot to be desired. I also support Baker Mayfield 100%
Baker is our quarterback. He has been hurt for the most part of the year. I believe the coach should have pulled him. So he could get healthy. When Chubb got hurt we set him.Baker legs r hurt. The legs are for important for a quarterback to make a good throw.Baker is hurt everywhere. Let him set and heal. I really question alot of the coachs calls . Going for it alot on 4 th down.And Mayfield getting sacked. The coach shouldn’t put his quarterback into those situations. Get the points.Do u know how much a swing is when u get sacked on 4 thdown? Look at how many times we have done this. U wonder why Mayfield is hurt?
Bake Mayfield is a highly paid professional football player. And with being said, there comes a certain amount of just criticism and Monday morning quarterbacking. Despite the injuries through the team, players are expected to play at a high level regardless of injury status. If you’re to hurt to perform at the level expected, please admit your inability to perform to those expectations and take a seat. A Couch who admit their decision to play an injured player is based on many factors, one of which, is the injuries player’s desire to play is not leading to the a level needed for success. If Mayfield is injured to a degree that negatively impacts the team’s ability to win….then make a leadership decision and sit him down until such time he can perform to the level expected of a NFL Championship Quarterback.
I think CoachStefanski is leaning on analytics too much and not his gut feeling which is hurting Mayfield on the field. I don’t think Drew Brees’ coach leaned that much on analytics. He let Brees just play and let his instincts take over. Which is why he was so good.
Pundyon Bill says
Long time Baker fan here but I am turning onhim. Its put up or sit down for Baker. No one needs him to play hurt if he’s playing at this greatly diminished level. He has enough talent around him ot win but he’s not getting it done. Its time he recognizes just how poorly he has been playing. He has accomplished a little but no that much. Four year and one playoff appearance swith a win against an over the hill Big Ben. That’s more than we’re used to but not a whole lot. Yes, he played well for th last 6 games last season as well as the playoffs but he wasn’t able to close out a winnable game against KC in the pplayoffs and again in the opener and its been downhill from there. There is no way that if he continues at this level of play they will jsut stick with him next season and not explore other options.
Stefanski lost that game in Kansas City… Stefanski!
Baker put it on the line.. been waiting all my life for this .moment.. I lost my trust and love for the browns when they went to the other place out east.. These fantasy people need to get on board with the guy that wants to play here and keep him here.. Baker is a man’s man playing a kids game. You think you can make it happen get off your cold ass and try.. b.t.