Things are not exactly going according to plan so far this year for the Cleveland Browns, although perhaps they may be going as expected. After briefly flirting with relevance last season thanks to a 5-2 run over the final seven games to finish *checks notes* under .500, with a shiny new franchise quarterback in Baker Mayfield, there was optimism aplenty in the City That Never Wins heading into 2019.
But the Browns have a worse record now than they did at this same point in time a year ago. Sitting at 2-5, it’s currently hard to picture them getting to .500 to improve upon where they finished a year ago at 7-8-1. And this, in spite of the fact that the betting lines in the offseason had them winning the division, and even putting Mayfield in the MVP race. The only thing he is currently leading is interceptions, if I’m not mistaken.
And blowups at reporters. The second-year quarterback had a testy exchange with Cleveland reporter Tony Grossi, who, full disclosure, I think isn’t particularly good, and from what I understand is not exactly viewed as one of the more respected beat reporters in his local market (not to be confused with popular).
Following a series of questions about a sequence at the end of the first half that involved the offense’s readiness following a penalty, which contributed to their inability to score at the end of that drive, Grossi asked Mayfield if he was happy with that drive. He told the reporter, more or less, that it was about the stupidest question he’d ever heard. That was the end of a series of escalations before he walked off.
A day later, wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. came to his defense. “I’m going to jump in the fire with him. I’ll be the first one”, he said. “I’ve been in situations where one person’s getting the blame and the rest of the people are quiet just to kind of stay out of the fire”.
He went on for some time in defending his quarterback, distributing the blame for the team’s poor performance throughout the roster, including himself of course, but also defending Mayfield’s temperament and demeanor.
Mayfield himself following his hasty retreat from the sea of microphones took to Twitter to double down on his conduct, Tweeting, “I am who I am and always have been. Don’t call it emotional when it’s convenient and then passion when it fits. I care about winning, so yeah I’m frustrated. If I was to act like it’s okay to lose, then y’all would say that I’ve gotten complacent. My sense of urgency is at an all time high. And if I offend anybody along the way… that’s too bad”.
So basically, everything is going great in Cleveland. Or, at least, as expected.