May­field a step ahead of other rook­ies

Rosen, Darnold and Allen trail Browns sig­nal caller in passer rat­ing

The News Herald (Willoughby, OH) - - Front Page - By Jeff Schudel jschudel@news-her­ald.com @JSProIn­sider on Twit­ter

The Browns are last in the AFC North, as they have been nearly ev­ery year since fin­ish­ing 10-6 in 2007. But there is an un­of­fi­cial set of stand­ings that might make fans feel bet­ter about the fu­ture.

Baker May­field, cho­sen with the first pick of the 2018 draft, leads all rookie quar­ter­backs in passer rat­ing. He is the only one among his first-year peers with more touch­down passes (10) than in­ter­cep­tions thrown (seven).

“I’ll see what they’re do­ing just to keep up with them, be­cause

we’ve done a lot of stuff to­gether,” May­field said. “I’m not com­par­ing. “I’m not wor­ried about that. I’m wor­ried about the Cleve­land Browns.”

May­field is ranked 29th among NFL starters with an 81.5 rat­ing. Along with his 10 touch­downs and seven in­ter­cep­tions he has com­pleted 159 of 265 passes (60 per­cent) for 2,021 yards.

Josh Rosen, picked 10th over­all by the Car­di­nals, is ranked 32nd. Sam Darnold, picked third by the Jets, is 33rd and Josh Allen, cho­sen sev­enth over­all by the Bills, is 34th. All three have a rat­ing be­low 70.0.

All four rook­ies are strug­gling. All four are try­ing to turn around bad foot­ball teams. The Browns were 0-16 last sea­son (2-5-1 in 2018). The Car­di­nals, 8-8 a year ago, traded up to draft Rosen. They are 2-6 this sea­son. The Jets were 5-11 last sea­son and are 3-6 in 2018.

The Bills made the play­offs last year at 9-7, traded up for Allen and are 2-7 this sea­son.

All four quar­ter­backs reg­u­larly won in col­lege. May­field, 33-6 in his ca­reer at Ok­la­homa, is 1-5 as a starter with the Browns. His three-year loss to­tal in col­lege will be equaled in seven weeks start­ing for the Browns if the Browns lose to the Fal­cons on Nov. 11 at FirstEn­ergy Sta­dium.

“One of the things that I’ve con­veyed to him is I feel re­ally good about him feel­ing good about the con­fi­dence we have in him,” Browns head coach Gregg Wil­liams said af­ter prac­tice Nov. 8. “We have his back. Now, let’s go.

“I don’t think that he had to be told that. Nope. I just wanted to make sure that he felt that. I’m kind of that way as a pres­ence. Mak­ing sure that you feel, not hear.”

May­field won’t let the los­ing drag him down. He burst onto the scene as the Browns quar­ter­back in heroic fash­ion, step­ping into the hud­dle in the sec­ond quar­ter of the third game with sea­son with the Browns trail­ing the Jets, 14-0, and starter Ty­rod Tay­lor on the bench with a con­cus­sion.

May­field com­pleted 17 of 23 passes with­out throw­ing a touch­down or in­ter­cep­tion, but he ral­lied the Browns to their first vic­tory in 635 days and a star was born. But life for May­field, and the Browns, has been rocky since then. They have lost four straight games since beat­ing the Ravens, 12-9.

“Los­ing sucks,” May­field said. “There’s no way around that. We have to be able to push for­ward. We have to be able to find the pos­i­tives right now and build on those. Once we con­tinue to do that, we’re able to fo­cus on elim­i­nat­ing the neg­a­tives af­ter that.

“It’s about find­ing out what we need as a team. Right now, that’s lead­er­ship and be­ing able to con­tin­u­ally im­prove ev­ery week.”

May­field and the other 2018 rook­ies aren’t alone. Pey­ton Man­ning was 3-13 as a rookie with the Colts in 1998. Troy Aik­man was 0-11 with the Cow­boys in 1989 and John El­way was 4-6 with the Bron­cos in 1983. Aik­man and El­way are in the Hall of Fame. Man­ning will be join­ing them in 2020 when his manda­tory five-year wait­ing pe­riod af­ter re­tire­ment ends.

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