The 2019 Cleveland Browns season is almost upon us with just a mere week or so until the team hits Berea to start training camp. The Browns have had a very busy, exciting and newsworthy offseason. It saw the team make some big roster shaking moves, which has, in turn, catapulted the hopes and excitement of Browns fans into all new heights since the return of the franchise in 1999/
Over the next couple weeks, we will be getting you ready for the start of the 2019 season by examining each of the Browns’ position groups. We start the preview series with the most important position in sports, the quarterback position.
The Browns have a franchise level starting quarterback in Baker Mayfield. Mayfield had one of the best rookie seasons in the NFL in recent memory and he took a team that was sputtering with horrible records every year to a 7-8-1 season. He is a quarterback with the arm to make every throw on the field and leadership to lead the locker room. He should have a big sophomore season and push his way into the talk of being one of the top quarterbacks in the entire league.
With the loss of Tyrod Taylor, the Browns will likely be relying on Drew Stanton and Garrett Gilbert. Gilbert has very little NFL game experience, while Stanton is a quarterback who is better in the locker room than on the field. Can Gilbert show enough in the preseason to give the Browns confidence in him to be a possible backup? Does Stanton have enough talent to play in moment’s notice if needed? These are big questions for this unit.
Mayfield is the Browns starting quarterback, so obviously, he is the key player in the quarterback group. Cleveland has spent its entire existence from 1999 trying to find the man who could take the ball and lead this franchise to the Super Bowl. They have one in Mayfield. Mayfield has the talent and makeup to be one of the best quarterbacks in the league. He will be in charge of leading the Browns to a possible playoff berth this season. The success of the overall team and the individual success of Mayfield will coincide with each other.
The loss of Taylor is a big loss in terms of depth. The Browns knew if Mayfield were to get injured, Taylor could come in and run the offense with solid level success. Without Taylor, the Browns are without a quarterback who conveys that confidence behind Mayfield. The Browns would love to have Taylor on their depth chart still.
The Browns signed Garrett Gilbert during the offseason after Gilbert performed really well in his brief time in the now-folded American Alliance of Football League. He showed enough intrigue that caused the Browns to sign him and give him a look as their backup quarterback. His performance and development will be one to watch this season because he could be the solution to the backup quarterback job, that is currently the biggest question mark for this unit.
Garrett Gilbert vs Drew Stanton
The battle between Garrett Gilbert and Drew Stanton for the No. 2 quarterback spot on the roster will be the biggest training camp battle for this unit. Can Gilbert show enough success on the field to supplant Stanton and his numerous games of actual NFL playing experience? Gilbert has the opportunity to take this spot, but can he show the success he had in the AAF in the preseason for the Browns?
The success of this position will rest on the shoulders of Baker Mayfield and I like that outlook. Yes, the Browns need to find a competent backup quarterback, but ultimately Mayfield will decide the success of this unit. Mayfield has a really impressive rookie season, especially after the dismissal of Hue Jackson and Todd Haley. Mayfield showed he has the talent to be the Browns franchise starting quarterback for the next decade or more. His arm talent is exceptional. He shows the natural accuracy, pocket presence, arm strength, touch, and IQ to really be a successful NFL quarterback.
I believe with a year under his belt and all of that experience he had in Year 1, paired with the numerous weapons he has on offense and the offensive coaching minds leading the offense, Mayfield is in line for a big Year 2. Consistency will be key for the young signal-caller. Mayfield will need to improve his performance consistency from his rookie season in order to make the big jump this coming season. I think he will because of the reasons above and because of his confidence he will have coming off his rookie year. Watching Mayfield this coming season will be very exciting.