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Cleveland Browns Mailbag Week 15: Has Baker Mayfield Turned the Corner?

All of this and more on the next episodes of Cleveland Browns Mailbag

CLEVELAND, OHIO - DECEMBER 14: Quarterback Baker Mayfield #6 passes to wide receiver Jarvis Landry #80 of the Cleveland Browns while under pressure from defensive end Yannick Ngakoue #91 of the Baltimore Ravens during the first half at FirstEnergy Stadium on December 14, 2020 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Welcome to the Mailbag Roundtable! Week 15 is here and features a rare Sunday Night Football appearance against the New York Giants. The Browns cannot clinch a playoff birth no matter what happens in week 15, but the game is huge nevertheless. See what our writers have to say about the game, the Browns performance on MNF and more!

1) We know there are no moral victories in the NFL. What did the Browns prove against the Ravens?

SuperSurge

The Browns showed the league the culture is changing in Cleveland. There were spots in the game where the Browns usually mail it in, get blown out, and move on to next week. There was a defiant attitude about the team, and coaches, to not go down that road. Hopefully this continues to build over the next few weeks.

Chris Richani

The Browns proved resiliency and legitimacy. The team clawed back from multiple two-score deficits against a team with Super Bowl aspirations. That type of resiliency is not something fans are used to seeing from the Browns recently. Baker Mayfield and the offense proved their legitimacy by doing to the Ravens’ stout defensive group what they have been doing to lesser defenses lately.

Out of the Rafters

The Browns proved that Stefanski, Van Pelt, Callahan and Baker are the real deal. We have a well-run, well-coached offensive core that sets us up for success. To see this, on the field, this early into the new regime, after this COVID-impacted offseason, is incredible. Even if there are aspects of our offense that aren’t currently elite, I have faith that we have the correct people in place to improve and grow into a team that can compete for championships on that side of the ball.

2) The defense has come under fire after their showing against the Ravens. Is it coaching, personnel or both?

SuperSurge

I put most of the defensive woes on the personnel. We’ve shown in certain games this year we can play good enough defense to win. There are just so many backups and backups of backups playing that it’s hard to even tell if coaching is a problem.

Chris Richani

I’ll go with personnel for now. It is tremendously difficult to judge Joe Woods’ performance with the current crop of healthy talent with which he’s working. The defense was already hurting for talent before Myles Garrett and Denzel Ward were lost for stretches. Even beyond Ward, the entire projected starting secondary is on IR. The linebacking group will be a key focus of talent acquisition this offseason. If Woods struggles next year after a predictable personnel revamp, only then will I reach for my pitchfork.

Out of the Rafters

It’s personnel. It’s hard to do anything when you don’t have a single NFL quality starter in your back seven. If we continue to struggle next year with personnel in place that are able to execute Woods’s system, then I’ll be able to criticize the coaching staff more. But right now, it’s not Woods’s fault he can’t drive a nail into a board if you give him a piece of spaghetti instead of a hammer.

3) Has Baker fully rounded the corner and firmly the Franchise QB?

SuperSurge

Baker has improved over the course of the season. I give him a little pass for the bad weather games, but even then he didn’t turn the ball over which is the priority in those situations. If he keeps the arrow pointing in this direction, he undoubtedly the quarterback this franchise has needed since Bernie.

Chris Richani

Yes. Baker Mayfield has turned the corner. That is not to say he will not have clunkers from time to time. Even the great ones do. But Baker has taken the necessary steps forward this season to give the organization and fanbase confidence that he is the guy. This was the most important thing to determine in the 2020 season, and the recent results are extremely encouraging.

Out of the Rafters

No. Yes, I can hear the reactions now. But I don’t mean this in a negative way. He has done everything he can on the field, and to my eyes, the growth he has shown this year gives me confidence in Baker moving forward. However, in order for me to say he is firmly our Franchise QB, I would have to know what he’s doing off the field. If you pair his on-field growth and performance with knowledge that he’s the hardest working man in the building–that football is life to him, and he’ll do whatever it takes to lead a championship organization? Then yeah, sign me up for that. But, I don’t know the answers to those questions. That’s something that fans can’t know at this point. So, I think Baker is the guy, but it’s impossible for me to know that at this point.

4) Who wins, Giants or Browns?

SuperSurge

 The Giants are a team that can beat you if you overlook them. However I don’t think Stefanski will let that happen. 30-13 Browns.

Chris Richani

 Browns. Even though it feels like a trap game, the Browns are simply the superior team and will impose their will on the Giants. Stefanski will have his team focused on the task at hand under the bright lights of Sunday Night Football, and the Browns will move to 10-4 by winning 31-21.

Out of the Rafters

Browns

Been a Browns fan since birth but unfortunately don't remember much of the good times. Lived through expansion era, the Butch era, Romeo era, Mangini, Holmgren, Sashi, Dorsey and now we begin a new era!

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