Baker Mayfield was terrible for the Cleveland Browns on Monday night. Besides the most obvious thing you cannot do as a QB, turning the ball over, it honestly looks like he has no idea what to look at on defense before the play begins. Because of that, he is rarely throwing the ball on time and while he is stationary in the pocket. That means he is almost always throwing the ball on the move.
This led to his NFL Week 5 leading minus-19% completion percentage below what it should have been. Sure he has demonstrated he has the ability to throw on the move sometimes, but what percentage of all the throws he makes in practice and pregame are on the move vs how many does he actually throw stationary? For sure it would be an overwhelming majority while he is in the pocket off his drop. He cannot expect to be accurate or to know where defenses are in that case. I will add that his receivers did not aid him a lot either and I will show you a couple of plays that illustrate this.
Let’s take a look early in the game at how Mayfield has to recognize the coverage and mesh that with his play. It is 3rd and long here. On the left side when the ball is snapped, the corner is showing he has deep quarters. The run the inside receiver, Antonio Callaway, on a clearing route down the field to run Odell Beckham underneath on a dig. Less than 1 second into the play, Mayfield should see the OLB for San Francisco drops hard to the outside. That should alert him that Beckham will be open on the in cut. At 1.95 seconds into the play, he should have thrown the ball to Odell. There is a little pressure up the middle. Instead of simply taking one step backward and continuing the play, he decides to escape opposite the main read.
His next option really isn’t his fault but he takes this one out of the play by escaping to the right. He has Jarvis Landry working the middle on a curl against a linebacker and Landry is unaware of where the drop by him is occurring so he turns around right behind the linebacker. He cannot do this. For both of these NFL players, they must have better awareness than this.
At 13:17 in the 1st QTR, Cleveland gets the ball back. Freddie Kitchens called a play-action pass. He ran Nick Chubb in front on the fake to hold the linebackers from dropping into the middle. Jarvis Landry runs a short post in front of the safety and Callaway runs one behind.
Mayfield is simply supposed to read the safety and if he drops on Callaway, hit Landry. If he comes up on Landry, hit Callaway. Mayfield hears Nick Bosa coming and makes a poor throw. But Callaway did not help. He is supposed to cut inside Richard Sherman but instead starts on then decides to go over. Sherman gets an easy pick to stop the drive.
The Browns have to fix Baker and he has to maintain his focus through the play or this long year gets way longer.
I have been writing about the Philadelphia Eagles’ Carson Wentz for a few weeks. He continues to show up each week in the top 10 worst. Here he is again with the third-worst expected completion differential in the NFL this week. We have looked at short throws, long throws, throws when he dropped back and tried to throw on time, and somewhere he had to move. His feet are all jacked up and he is overcompensating for that with arm motion and core position. No quarterback will be as consistent as they want to be or their coach wants to be as long as that is the case.
Let’s check the video on Wentz and see if it is still his feet that are calling all his problems. With 39 seconds left in the 1st QTR, it is 3rd & 5 and he has Darren Sproles outside on the left. The cornerback is truly giving him a first down with a stop route. It is the easiest throw he can have. He ends up throwing the ball high to Sproles. But look at his feet from the first view and the second.
Like previous weeks, his left foot is outside his target and his stance is too wide. The easy cause to a high ball is to look at the width of the stance. Too wide, ball goes high. I am amazed at how he shows up on this list and either the Eagles or Wentz himself, do not understand this.
Let’s look at Tom Brady as a comparison. A good view of a similar throw, same side, and distance as the one for Wentz is at 11:38 of the first quarter. As you can see, Brady is more upright because of his more narrow stance. His lead foot points directly at the point where he wants the ball to travel. And you have a perfect throw. I have been up to the Patriots practice several times and Brady is always concerned with his footwork. If I was everyone else, I would be doing what he does. To be that good for that long means tremendous mechanics and footwork.
My QB I love to hate on is, of course, Jared Goff. He got a lot of praise when the Rams’ passing offense was clicking, but I have had problems with him, even last year. He makes a return to the top-10 worst at No. 4 this week, 6.5% below his expected completion percentage. The Rams lost by a point and one of those three errant passes that he should have completed could very much have been the difference.
The record of the 10 quarterbacks with the worst expected completion percentage, which included the likes of Patrick Mahomes, Jameis Winston, and Daniel Jones, was 1-7 if you throw out the game that two of them faced each other so one had to win. 1-7! As has been the case, having a quarterback perform well below what should be expected puts his team at a severe disadvantage, even when considering nothing else.