The Cleveland Browns are 6-6, which given the last 20 years of football in northeast Ohio wouldn’t normally be cause for a meltdown, but coming off of their best season since returning to the NFL in 1999, not only reaching the postseason but beating the hated Steelers in the Wild Card round, expectations were for much more this year than .500 football.
There are plenty of reasons for the Browns stagnating this season, with injuries playing a significant role in early defensive woes and, more recently, the offense falling off. Their latest effort saw the offense look awful in a 16-10 loss in Baltimore, as the Browns could not take advantage of four Ravens turnovers forced by the defense. They struggled to run the ball as Baltimore crowded the box, daring a banged up Baker Mayfield to beat them with his arm, something he was incapable of doing on Sunday night.
Frustration is mounting in Cleveland, and while Mayfield is very clearly not at 100 percent, that he continues to play requires some form of criticism to land on his shoulders, no matter his health status. Most famously, Mayfield was ripped by Odell Beckham Sr. on Instagram a few weeks ago, leading to Beckham Jr.’s release from the team, where he eventually landed in Los Angeles with the Rams. Normally, one player’s dad posting angrily about the QB on social media would be an anomaly, but in Cleveland it’s becoming something of a regular occurrence as Kareem Hunt’s dad apparently took the “next man up” mentality to Facebook on Sunday in some now-deleted posts ripping Mayfield for being “scared to throw” and blaming the Browns for continuing to play him when he’s clearly hurt.
It’s not ideal, and Mayfield hasn’t exactly helped his own cause by firing back at fans booing him and his own family members posting angry messages in his defense on their own social media. All told, the Browns are in a rather dreadful spot right now and the bye week will hopefully allow things to calm down, guys to possibly get a bit healthier, and a late kick to the postseason may be in order. If that doesn’t happen, frustration will only grow and we can only wonder whose father will be the next to post his way into headlines.