Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns have a statement game in Week 5 against the Los Angeles Chargers. Both teams are 3-1 and threatening to win their respective divisions. Not only that, but these are two teams capable of deep playoff runs. That's why the status of Baker Mayfield's injured left shoulder is so imperative.
During Week 2 against the Houston Texans, Baker Mayfield suffered a partially torn labrum in his left shoulder. Mayfield escaped missing time because the injury was to his non-throwing shoulder. But it's an injury that's caused a dip in his performance.
Baker Mayfield will play this Sunday against the Chargers. His coaches said in the media this week that his accuracy hasn't been affected. But his tape shows a different tale the last two weeks.
Injury to Baker Mayfield is a big concern for the Browns
The Browns can take solace in knowing Mayfield will suit up against the Chargers. But if Mayfield aggregates the injury, Case Keenum is the backup quarterback. The Browns' playoff dreams lie in the arms of Mayfield and his accuracy.
Mayfield has struggled with accuracy since entering the NFL in 2018. His rookie year was his most accurate year, and he was only the 24th most accurate quarterback in the league. In 2019, he finished 31st in terms of accuracy, and last year finished 30th.
Before he suffered his injury in Week 2, Mayfield showed signs of growth in his accuracy. He completed 21 of 28 passes in Week 1 for an impressive 11.46 yards per attempt. The next week, he was 19 of 21 for 10.14 yards per attempt. But then this hit happened.
Dan Orlovsky explains how Browns QB Baker Mayfield's throws are affected due to his injury
ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky did an excellent job explaining how the injury will impact every throw Mayfield attempts to make. Since the injury, Baker Mayfield has had the worst completion percentage in the NFL.
In Week 4 against the Minnesota Vikings, Mayfield played his worst game as a pro. He missed receivers all game long and threw for 155 yards on 4.70 yards per attempt.
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The Browns roster is still capable of making a deep push. But Mayfield's injury isn't going to go away this season. It's something he will have to learn to play with if he elects to avoid surgery. Winning in today's NFL requires you to be able to move the ball and push it downfield.
Mayfield was looking to throw the ball as quickly as possible last week to avoid taking hits. Playing conservatively means the Browns will lose a significant portion of their offensive production. Mayfield's injury may allow him to play. But it's something the Browns should take seriously and monitor for the rest of the year.