The Cleveland Browns haven't lived up to Super Bowl expectations through 12 weeks, sitting at 6-6 and third place in the AFC North -- yet are just a half game out of the final playoff spot in the conference. As the Browns head into their bye week, there's still plenty of time to turn their season around.
The question that has yet to be answered involves the future of Baker Mayfield, who has been battling through shoulder and ankle injuries that have hindered his performance. With a year left on his rookie contract, the time is now for Mayfield to perform.
Browns General Manager and Executive Vice President of Football Operations Andrew Berry isn't rushing into a decision.
"I do not know if it is so much about showing me anything," Berry said. "Really, our focus is on winning games and playing at a high enough level that allows us to be in a strong spot in December. That is really where the focus is. I think Baker has shown a lot over the past three-plus seasons, so I do not necessarily subscribe to this notion that there is something in these next five games that is of particular focus, so to speak."
Mayfield has completed 62.2% of his passes for 2,413 yards with 11 touchdowns to six interceptions for an 89.9 passer rating. Through 12 games last season, Mayfield completed 62.7% of his passes for 2,442 yards with 21 touchdowns to seven interceptions for a 97.9 passer rating.
Out of 34 qualified quarterbacks, Mayfield is 27th in completion percentage, 24th in touchdown passes, 26th in touchdown percentage (3.5), 11th in interception percentage (1.9), and 20th in passer rating. There's no question who the Browns' starter is going forward, even if Berry wants to push back the biggest decision for the franchise until the offseason.
"Baker is our quarterback. He is healthy enough to win games for us. He has won games for us in the past couple of weeks. If he is ready to go, he is going to be our starter," Berry said. "Our focus is on playing our best football in December and positioning ourselves to really play in the postseason this year because we have a ton of meaningful games, and that really significantly outsizes any individual player decision across the roster that we are going to make.
"There will be plenty of time to think through how we are going to build the roster into next year, but at the end of the day, everybody's focus and energy within the organization is making sure that we do everything in our power to maximize the current season."
The Browns are banking on the week off being good for Mayfield going forward. For the franchise's sake, Cleveland is hoping its starting quarterback can turn his season around.
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