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Baker Mayfield says shoulder harness not to blame for completion percentage dropping nearly 30 points in last 2 games

92.3 The Fan
92.3 The Fan
 2021-10-06
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BEREA, Ohio (92.3 The Fan) – Through the first two games Baker Mayfield was leading the NFL in completion percentage at 81.63.

In the two weeks that have followed, Mayfield’s completion percentage has plummeted to 53.13% combined in wins over the Bears and Vikings.

So, what happened?

“Missing the throws, and then the same problems – hitting the guys that are open, taking what’s there,” Mayfield said Wednesday. “Yeah, just gotta get it corrected.”

Mayfield is not one for excuses.

He’s never made them before, and he’s not about to start now regardless of the mitigating circumstances he might be dealing with on or off the field, but one moment stands out as the potential root cause for his recent misfires.

Mayfield’s left shoulder popped out and in as he described it September 19 in the second quarter of a 31-21 win over the Texans.

He’s not looked the same since.

“You can always point your finger at a few things, but we missed a couple of guys, and we are going to work really hard to make sure we hit them this week,” head coach Kevin Stefanski said. “I have seen Baker have great success in games, and I have no doubt that we will work at it this week.”

In addition to flying his physiologist to town to give him treatment, Mayfield has been wearing a harness to help hold his left shoulder in place during games begging the question if the harness was affecting his throws.

“It shouldn’t, no,” Mayfield said.

Sunday at Minnesota Mayfield was off all afternoon.

He hit left guard Joel Bitonio in the back with a throw on a simple screen to Kareem Hunt. Then there was him not even recognizing Demetric Felton open on the sideline on third-and-short, tucking it and running right into a sack instead. Then came the miscommunication with Odell Beckham Jr. in the final 2 minutes which had he hit him would’ve resulted in a game-sealing walk-in touchdown for Beckham.

“That was one of those games where we weren't looking for 80+ completion percentage, but just those throws, you look at completing some of those and you're looking at a completely different ballgame,” Mayfield said.

Mayfield has adjusted his footwork the last two years under Stefanski and offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt, but from his perspective, that’s not the issue.

“I think my footwork was clean,” Mayfield said. “It’s just about making the plays when they’re there. I really don’t think it’s that complicated. Everybody’s going to try and make an excuse. I pretty much hit on it after the game, just gotta make the damn play. it’s that simple.”

The Browns head coach downplayed the notion that Mayfield’s mechanics might be off.

“Certainly, at the quarterback position, you want to try and make sure your mechanics are right,” Stefanski said. “Baker does a great job out here working on his technique, and we will just have to continue to do that.”

Despite Mayfield’s recent struggles with consistency, the Browns are still winning.

“It’s nice when you can play around 50 percent completion, which is terrible, and then to have a win on the road in a hostile environment against a good team, so yeah that’s nice going on the road like that,” Mayfield said, “but there’s still a standard that I’ve kind of set for myself and try to hold myself accountable to, so I didn’t do that.”

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