It has been a rough few weeks for Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield.
First came an injury to his left (non-throwing) shoulder while trying to make a tackle after an interception against the Houston Texans in Week 2.
Then came five sacks in Week 3 against the Chicago Bears.
Things bottomed up this past weekend against the Minnesota Vikings, as Mayfield completed just 45 percent of his passes and missed the type of completions he normally makes, took three more sacks, and finished with a quarterback rating of 59.5.
The fact that the Browns won all three of those games has been lost on some, as the questions about Mayfield’s long-term future with Cleveland has once again been called into question.
Mayfield took responsibility for his poor play after the game on Sunday, and again on Wednesday during a media appearance prior to practice. He also said that the harness he is wearing on his injured shoulder “should not” have a negative impact on his passing.
That apparently was not enough, however, as Mayfield took to Instagram on Wednesday evening to remind everyone that his commitment has not wavered:
“People seem to forget how I got here ... Nothing was given. Everything earned. Ups and downs. Came out stronger & better every time. God blessed me with the mental and physical strength to not only make it through adversity, but to also grow through those trials that nobody else could handle. I’ll always be striving to get better ... which I will continue to have that mindset.
“Winning is the priority for me, always has been and always will be. That’s why I was brought to Cleveland, to change that narrative and impact others along the way.
“That being said, we have a great group. I have their back and they have mine. I’m gonna battle for these guys every single week. On to the next challenge.”
There have been plenty of theories tossed around the past few days about why Mayfield played so poorly against the Vikings. While he does not want to use the shoulder as an excuse, it seems more likely that it is bothering him more than he wants to let on, as opposed to the idea that he suddenly forgot how to play quarterback, or that his pending contract extension is weighing so heavily on him that he can’t handle the pressure.
It is also likely that Mayfield is going to be dealing with the bum shoulder - and the accompanying harness - for a while, so he will need to find a comfort level that allows him to play up to his abilities.
The next step comes this Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers. Judging by what Browns fans have seen from Mayfield over the past few years, a strong bounceback performance should be in store for the game.