One of the biggest reasons the Browns and Baker Mayfield divorced this offseason was due to the quarterback’s poor play last season.
And a shoulder injury was a huge cause of that poor play.
Despite tearing his labrum, Mayfield played out the season, determined to show his toughness and grit.
And it’s that very reason (combined with a career-low in completions and QBR) that saw the Browns trade Mayfield to the Panthers this offseason.
And sometimes it’s impossible to know precisely when a player suffers an injury that they decide to play through.
Other times, like for torn ACLs and Achilles, it’s far too obvious.
For Mayfield, the moment he tore his shoulder fell into the latter category.
Let’s take it back to Week Two for a moment.
The Browns and Texans (those pesky Texans popping up again!) faced off.
Mayfield threw an interception intended for Anthony Schwartz and proceeded to try and tackle Texans safety, Justin Reid.
Instead, Mayfield was jerked around, slowing Reid down just enough for Mayfield’s teammates to bring the Texans player down.
And after the play, significant criticism was thrown Schwartz’s way after he appeared to have given up on the throw.
“Can’t just say ‘Oh, he stopped on his route it’s your fault.’ There’s a lot of stuff that goes into that play. We both did something wrong on that play. I didn’t finish the play and I don’t think he [Mayfield] made the right read.
“We were both wrong on that play. That’s one of the plays last year that I wish I could take back but end of the day. … I don’t think it’s in the right for me to take all that blame.”
Evidently, being labeled the scapegoat for Mayfield’s injury didn’t sit well with Schwartz.
Curiously, Schwartz did still admit that he quit on the play.
Former Browns WRs remember these throws pic.twitter.com/cabNE4Sw6f
— Sean (@TheKardiac_Kid) July 26, 2022
It’s confusing, considering Schwartz was a rookie who, in theory, would be grinding for snaps in a crowded receiving room.
Why would he quit on the play?
Either Schwartz momentarily blanked, letting his emotions at getting thrown a poor pass get the best of him, or he simply didn’t want it enough.
Either way, quitting on the play is inexcusable and shows a lack of commitment to the quarterback.
What’s also inexcusable is Schwartz earning all of the blame for Mayfield’s injury.
Schwartz is indeed correct: lots go into a play.
— MJ in cleats (@DeshaunMJWatson) July 25, 2022
And even more when a play goes belly-up because of an interception.
In that case, the result resembles more a free-for-all than any cohesive “play.”
Is Schwartz feeling more emboldened to take digs at Mayfield’s “read” now that the former Sooner is gone?
But kudos to him for sticking up for himself.