2021 South Side Questions: Will Steelers Avoid Baker Mayfield (And Should They Want To)?

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2021 season is underway, and they are hoping for a better outcome in comparison to last season. After starting out 11-0, they finished the year 1-4 in the regular season, and then lost in the Wildcard Round to the Cleveland Browns, ignited by a 0-28 first quarter.

They have lost a large number of key players in the offseason, like Maurkice Pouncey, Bud Dupree, Alejandro Villanueva, David DeCastro, Mike Hilton, and Steven Nelson, but they’ve also made significant additions as the months have gone on, notably Trai Turner, Melvin Ingram, Joe Schobert, and Ahkello Witherspoon. They also added Najee Harris, Pat Freiermuth, Kendrick Green, and Dan Moore Jr., all of whom are starting.

There isn’t much left to do but to play the games at this point. Even if they play them poorly. They still have a lot to figure out, though, such as what Matt Canada’s offense is going to look like in any given week, or how the new-look secondary and offensive line is going to play.

These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked. There is rarely a concrete answer, but this is your venue for exploring the topics we present through all their uncertainty.

Question: Will the Steelers avoid seeing Baker Mayfield in week 7 (and would that even be preferable)?

It was reported during the broadcast of Thursday night’s game between the Browns and the Broncos that Cleveland quarterback Baker Mayfield’s injury was more extensive than first believed. Not only does he have a torn labrum, but also a fractured humerus.

Needless to say, this has led to speculation about how much time he might miss, if any. I’m the furthest thing from an expert on the subject, but I would imagine that the fractured humerus decreased his odds of being able to play a little more than a week from now.

But the Browns’ backup quarterback, Case Keenum, is no slouch, either. Is a healthy Keenum a more effective weapon for Cleveland than an injured Mayfield? I think that’s a legitimate question to ask, especially if we must also consider the possibility of their still missing running back Nick Chubb (Kareem Hunt will definitely be out).

They did get Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry back, but the Browns have not abandoned the run without their top two backs, either, with D’Ernest Johnson having some success carrying the football. And we saw this past game that the Steelers’ defensive line, in its current state, can be run on.

Mayfield originally injured his shoulder in week one while attempting to make a tackle after throwing an interception. He reaggravated the injury and evidently did further damage on Sunday against the Cardinals. On the season, he has gone 116-for-173 passing for 1474 yards with six touchdowns to three interceptions and a quarterback rating of 97.8, the highest of his career.

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