Baker Mayfield and Hue Jackson

USA Today

Not A Cookie-Cutter QB

Don’t expect Baker to change.

November 29, 2018 - 9:51 am

All season long, I’ve been declaring the Cleveland Browns to be America’s Team. Initially, people clowned me for saying it. That I had gone too far. That I was just throwing crap up against the wall. But week by week, more and more people have come over to my side. Reasonable people know I’m right. And have said as much. Apology accepted. 

As for the rest of you, if you’re not down yet. Get down! The bandwagon is starting to bend under the weight of the late arrivals, but we’ve still got room for more. 

But some of you still need to see the evidence or proof that the Cleveland Browns are America’s Team? Fine. Here it is. The previous holder of that title, the Dallas Cowboys, the football team formerly known as America’s Team is playing tonight, in primetime, against the best team in football, and the Cleveland Browns are STILL the biggest story.

You have the third highest scoring offense in football going up against the team allowing the third fewest points in football. The Saints have scored 30 or more points in all but two games this season. The Dallas Cowboys have yet to give up 30 points this season. 

And yet the Cleveland Browns, who don’t play until Sunday, are the only thing anyone wants to talk about. And I get it. In fact, I’m all about it. There is such a hunger for Browns-related news, that even when there isn’t news, people are still talking about it.

It’s Thursday. We’re well removed from Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns embarrassing the Cincinnati Bengals and then Baker slipping former coach Hue Jackson’s attempt to hug it out after the beatdown. Well removed from Baker saying why he did what he did after the game.

That was Sunday. And the story still won’t go away. He was asked about it again yesterday and he laid it out, again: "People took it as me personally attacking Hue. That's not it. It's the fact that I get to have my own opinion on how it transpired and he gets to do what he wants. That's how it is. Although I'm an athlete, I'm not a cookie-cutter quarterback. Never have been, never will be.”

If you didn’t know that when he was in college, and you didn’t know that before the draft, you do now. Dude ISN’T a cookie-cutter quarterback. And he is going to let you know what he thinks when he thinks it.  

"I speak my mind, that's how I am. I didn't like the move and people don't have to care. I'm not looking for anybody's approval. I don't regret any of it. It's about this team and what we have and we have to stick together and play together."

And that is why he is the perfect fit for this Browns team right now. But this isn’t just a Baker Mayfield thing. He wasn’t the only guy with strong feelings about Hue Jackson.  Far from it. Damarious Randall picked off a pass and gave Hue a game ball, in the most sarcastic, disrespectful way possible. A complete and total clown job of Hue. 

Those are the new Cleveland Browns. I’ll say it again. They’re not here to take part.  They’re here to take over... They aren’t here for anyone’s approval. They do what they want and they don’t care whether like it or not. They are gonna do them, and they don’t care whether you care. And it’s awesome.

And yes, they’re going to call Hue Jackson “fake” if they want to. 

Oh, and as for why he called Hue Jackson “fake,” Mayfield said: “There’s just things that happened inside the building that I’m not going to get into detail with, it’s in-house information and it doesn’t matter. We've moved on. We have our coach right now. We have our play caller, and we're having success, so we need to focus on that."

When asked about it again, he said: “I get it, but I don’t have to get into details. That’s how it works.”

Fantastic. But still, he was asked about “fake” again and responded: “You're caught up on that word, aren't ya?"

Even better. Baker knows how it works. He knows the game and he knows the score. He’s chippy. He puts that chip on his shoulder and goes right back to work. As he said, “I do everything with a purpose.”

That’s how you go from walk-on to Heisman winner to first pick in the draft. And that’s exactly this team and this town needs.

If you want to call Mayfield “childish” or “immature” or anything like that, go right ahead. He’s not going to back down from his take. Nor should he. Do you really think he’s a distraction or that he should apologize? Hell. No.

Did you think he should’ve thrown on a suit and tie, stood in front of the media, and apologized for what he did and said? Hell. No. For who? For what? 

Honestly, I would’ve lost a helluva lot of respect for Mayfield if he did that. Now that would have been fake. That would have been disappointing. But he didn’t back down. In fact, he pretty much doubled down.

I know “distraction” is like the scarlet letter in the NFL. But Baker’s not a distraction. He was just been named the NFL’s offensive rookie of the month for November. If that’s a distraction, then every team needs a distraction. 

He and his teammates were fired up by what happened when Hue Jackson went to the Bengals. The Bengals brought Hue in because they thought he could help them win. They brought him in because they had two games left against the Browns and thought he could help p them win those two games. But they were wrong. And it was Mayfield and the Browns who proved them wrong. And it felt sweet. And they told you it was; just like you know hue Jackson would have if he got over.

Speaking of which, again, I have no problem with Hue Jackson getting a new job after he was fired, just like I have no problem with the Browns players being bent that he got that new job with a division rival. And for the last time, don’t try to compare this to a player transferring in college, this is nothing like that.

If the fact that Mayfield isn’t a cookie-cutter quarterback bothers you, that’s fine. And if you don’t love the idea of a rookie talking the way he talks, that’s fine too. Maybe you feel like he was disrespectful to Hue, you can feel that way too. Just don’t expect Baker to change. Because he won’t and he shouldn’t. Not only is Baker’s approach not hurting the Browns, it’s helping them. 

So yes, the NFL is back tonight. The Saints are facing the Cowboys, but you and I both know that the real story is and will continue to be, America’s Team. The Cleveland Browns. 

Oh, and the team to hold the Saints to their lowest point total of the season – you guessed it, the Cleveland Browns.