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Browns, Mayfield at a Crossroad

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Sunday’s game in Cleveland is big for both teams as the Ravens and Browns attempt to improve their chances for a postseason appearance and beyond. But it could be argued that the game holds the greatest level of importance to none other than Baker Mayfield.

During the offseason, pundits throughout the land lauded the Browns and their chances for a Super Bowl berth, but sitting at (6-6) while struggling offensively, Cleveland hardly looks like a Super Bowl contender. Mayfield has been equipped with a great offensive line, the best tandem of running backs in the business plus an arsenal of pass catchers complemented by an offensive scheme that should fit Mayfield like a glove. But it hasn’t worked out that way.

Granted, he hasn’t been 100% healthy but that said, Mayfield has to be labeled a disappointment. Now he still has a chance to bail his team out and perhaps reverse the trend of his declining market value. A loss to the Ravens would drop the Browns to (6-7) and put a severe dent in Cleveland’s playoff hopes and Mayfield’s wallet.

Some players let their play do the talking yet they don’t rest on their laurels or accomplishments. They’re humble and accountable while always seeking to improve their games. Lamar Jackson comes to mind. Other players are cocky and outwardly wear their swagger despite not having accomplished all that much. They reek of entitlement. Baker Mayfield comes to mind.

Here he talks about the upcoming game against the Ravens.

Ravens By The Numbers

  • The Ravens are (8-4) for the fifth time in franchise history (also 2000, 2001, 2008 & 2010), making the playoffs each year. (The 2008 and 2010 seasons were under head coach John Harbaugh.)
  • Baltimore is 4-1 in games decided by 3-or-fewer points this season and 6-2 in games decided by 8-or-fewer points.
  • Dating back to 2018, Baltimore has produced the NFL’s best record in the combined months of Dec./Jan., going 14-3.
  • Baltimore leads the all-time series vs. Cleveland, 33-11. Under Coach Harbaugh, the Ravens are 22-4 against the Browns, including 11-2 at FirstEnergy Stadium. Baltimore has won four straight vs. Cleveland, including Week 12’s 16-10 game at M&T Bank Stadium.

RGIII to The Rescue?

Recently we heard of Robert Griffin, III’s intent on calling out the Washington Football Team for their sinister management style and for the way the franchise derailed his career in an upcoming book called “Surviving Washington” to be released on August 9, 2022. 2022! (A bit premature for the promo trail, don’t you think?)

While I’m sure there’s a measure of truth to the book, it does come off a bit like sour grapes, particularly since the book’s release is nine months out. Maybe he’s trying to keep the franchise’s sordid past in the limelight while others try to turn up the heat on Roger Goodell to reveal more of the league’s discoveries and indirectly help the WFT victims. And you can rest assured, knowing that old Roger probably took those discoveries to an incinerator if the revelations in any way cast a shadow on the “brand’s” ability to drive revenues.

That said, other former “Redskins” aren’t too keen on RGIII’s intent.

Fred Smoot: “’Sensitive thugs need a hug’ and RGIII is one of these sensitive thugs who needs a hug. Tell me a man who ever came out with a tell-all book?? No man has ever done this. Then he said ‘I’m going to tell everybody how I got sexually harassed’, the ugliest quarterback of all time… I just don’t know what RGIII was thinking, at what point does this benefit him? At the end of the day, nobody is waiting for RGIII’s thoughts about Washington. Then he named it ‘Surviving Washington’, was R. Kelly there?? Did I miss something??

“Bobby [RGIII] is an irritant, and that’s what Bobby loves to do. Bobby failed at his career in the NFL, let’s be honest, now he wants to bring attention to himself by any means necessary, and that’s why he wrote this book, and I can’t believe somebody is actually going to read it. I wish I was blind. He should of wrote a book called ‘Surviving the Browns’, is this dude serious?? At one point is he really as important as he thinks he is? This guy is not who you think he is, I’m sorry. I don’t know who is helping him with his afterlife after football but they are leading him in the wrong direction.”

Lavar Arrington: “My career in Washington was spoiled, ruined, and trashed, and I always still continued to speak the truth about what I experienced and what I saw. The amount of hate and the amount of anger that came my way for saying it, it was not safe to say things like what I was saying even though it was the truth back then. So, RGIII, with all due respect, it’s kind of a b*tch move to say you’re going to do a tell-all now. Why didn’t you do your tell-all three or four years ago? Because you were scared of backlash that you would receive saying what you believed your truth was in a time where you didn’t have all of the stuff that has come out with the cheerleaders, and the emails, and all this stuff that makes it safe for you to be a front-runner of justice.

“I HATE WHEN DUDES DO B*TCH MOVES TO BE HEROES AND HEROIC AND YOU DO IT IN THE COMFORT OF KNOWING PEOPLE ALREADY KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON. Stand up and be a man, do that ‘S’ before now. Someone like me said this for years, go back into the annals in the history of me saying this is a dysfunctional place, this is an evil dude [Dan Snyder], this dude does what he wants to do, and how he wants to do it. I was basically ran out of that city just for trying to stand up for myself. I was the face of an organization, the face of a city, I was deeply entrenched in that city, and did so many things outside of the scope of what happened in between the lines of the football field, and then for some strange reason now I’m being attacked, and being called this and that, ‘HE’S WASHED’, ‘HE’S OVERRATED’, ‘HE’S DUMB AS A BRICK’, and I still stood on my truth all of them years. Then you get a dude like this that waits. You’re going to ‘WAIT’?, it’s a sissy move. That’s our America and that’s our reality today. Our America is full of a bunch of sissified dudes that think they can just run with stuff and be heroes based off of being a sissy. You’ll never be a hero to me.”

I get where Smoot and Arrington are coming from, but since I’ve got no dog in the fight, I’ll turn my attention towards the things I do like to hear from RGIII – specifically his defense of the Ravens.

Battle Plans

Each week I meet up with my colleagues James Ogden and Dev Panchwagh for our Battle Plans podcast. This time around, since it’s the second time in 3 weeks that the Ravens will take on the Browns, we decided to shift our focus a bit. In this podcast we address questions that we’ve heard from fans and even inquiring members of the media:

* Have the Ravens abandoned their RPO approach to offense?
* Why is Lamar struggling against the blitz and what can the Ravens do to counter?
* What’s happened to designed rollout, waggles and moving pockets?
* How can they give help to Tyre Phillips at RT?
* Will the Ravens use no-huddle proactively?
* Can the loss of Marlon Humphrey trigger possible schematic changes to the defense?
* Did Harbs call out his coordinators?
* What can we learn from Ravens v. Browns Part I to help with Part II?

Ravens Gameday

* Line: Ravens are currently listed as 2 ½ point underdogs; over/under at 45
* Referee: Brad Rogers, 5th highest number of penalties called and accepted
* TV: CBS Crew of Kevin Harlan (PBP), Trent Green (analyst) and Melanie Collins (sideline)
* Kickoff: Sunday 1PM
* Forecast: Most sunny, 43 degrees, WSW winds of 14MPH, gusting to 25MPH

[Next Up: Myles Garrett]

Pittsburgh Dad

This guy just makes me laugh. So I finally decided to find out who he really is. His name is Curt Wooten and he explains the motivation behind Pittsburgh Dad.

“The inspiration for Pittsburgh Dad comes from my own father. I would always walk around and do an impersonation of him. And as soon as I put on the glasses, I AM my father from the 80’s.”

The Walrus

Yesterday was the 41st anniversary of John Lennon’s assassination. Like the space shuttle, Challenger and 911, we can all remember where we were the moment the news broke about John. It’s crazy to think that he has been gone longer than the time he was with us on Earth.

Yellow Card

Remember Mike Curtis? The Mad Dog? What about the time he decked a hooligan fan who ran out on to the field? Curtis was a beast and one of my favs from those Colts teams.

And just maybe he was a favorite of this girl from the Chelsea Football Club.

Fear Not

Lacie DeCosta, wife of Ravens GM Eric, recently Tweeted about this scene from the 1965 short animation film “A Charlie Brown Christmas”. Not long ago I watched it with my wife (it has been quite a while since my last viewing) and I was pleasantly surprised by its religious overtones that I had forgotten about. The message is peaceful and simple, just the way I prefer my Christmas Day.

Music Fanimal

This week’s Music Fanimal episode features a local trio called, “How’s My Hat?” One member of the group, Chad Racine, is a regular contributor to our Bold Predictions. If you ever have the opportunity to see/hear him play, treat yourself and do it. You can thank me later. He’s just a humble guy with incredible talent, willing to accommodate his audience. He’s nothing like Baker Mayfield.

In this episode the guys perform “Seven Bridges Road” by Eagles; “Sound of Silence” by Simon & Garfunkel; and “If I Fell” by The Beatles. Happy Friday, Jr. everyone!

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