The Baltimore Ravens will be playing their third division game in the first five weeks of the season on Sunday when they face the Cleveland Browns. It will be their first look at first-overall draft pick Baker Mayfield, who was supposed to spend this season on the bench behind Tyrod Taylor, a plan that went awry pretty much immediately.
Said Ravens defensive coordinator Don Martindale of the rookie quarterback, “I already told the defense this, I think Baker Mayfield is this generation’s Brett Favre or John Elway, if you will. This guy knows where he wants to go with the ball, and he’s very accurate. He’s got a quick release, and he’s really playing well”.
Mayfield has played about a game and a half so far. He took over for an injured Taylor two weeks ago, inheriting a 14-point deficit that he was able to overcome to secure the franchise’s first victory since 2016. He made the first start of his career on Sunday, but lost in overtime to the then-winless Oakland Raiders.
He has so far completed 38 of 64 passes for 496 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He has also fumbled three times and caught a two-point conversion pass. Yes, caught, not threw.
“The kid’s confidence and swag”, Martindale continued. “When he comes out there, he thinks he’s standing on top of the mountain. He’s making plays to show he’s standing on top of the mountain”. Still, Mayfield, and his own offensive coordinator, were not so prosaic just yet in what he has shown as a professional.
Todd Haley jokingly asked if he was already having a bust carved. “I’ll hold my stance”, he said. “I’m excited about a lot of things he’s doing, but like I said this week will be a real test. We’ll know a lot more come Sunday evening”.
As for the quarterback himself, he was less hasty in his remarks, essentially saying that he has an awful lot to prove before he has any right having his name used in the same context as a couple of Hall of Famers and Super Bowl champions. He has yet to even win his first game, technically.
Facing the Ravens’ defense won’t be an easy task, as they have been one of the best units through the first quarter of the season. Baltimore is off to a 3-1 start as the team looks to end a three-year dry spell with respect to entry into the postseason.