Andrew Berry: We expect Baker Mayfield to play his best football down the stretch

Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield has had an up-and-down fourth season.

He’s been plagued by several injuries, at one point saying he’s as beat up as he’s ever been. But Mayfield has maintained that he’s felt better week after week.

At the Week 13 bye, Mayfield has completed 62 percent of his passes for 2,413 yards with 11 touchdowns and six interceptions. His passer rating is down from 95.9 in 2020 to 89.9 in 2021. He’s yet to engineer a fourth-quarter comeback or game-winning drive this season.

General Manager Andrew Berry addressed the media on Wednesday and noted how everyone knows Mayfield is physically tough.

“[Baker] has had stretches this year where he has played well for us,” Berry said, via 92.3 The Fan. “He’s worked through injuries. We expect him to play his best football here down the stretch after the bye.”

The Browns are 1-2 in the last three weeks, with Mayfield playing some of his worst football. He’s completed just 51 percent of his passes for 496 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions, which works out to a 65.1 passer rating. He’s also fumbled twice, losing one of them.

Mayfield is in a critical fourth season. Though the Browns have already picked up his fifth-year option for 2022, he has yet to sign a long-term contract extension. Berry said Cleveland’s struggles in the pass games aren’t a one-person issue. But Mayfield is still the one who touches the football on every play and the Browns rank 25th in passing offense.

Still, Berry said the Browns aren’t considering a QB change, so Mayfield will play as long as he’s healthy. And Berry noted that the last five games won’t necessarily be about Mayfield showing him anything to earn a contract extension.

Instead, Berry said, via Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal, that there’s plenty of time to figure out how the Browns want to build their roster into the future. At this point, the focus is on the final five games of the year.

Cleveland has a difficult schedule down the stretch. The club will come out of its bye to play Baltimore on Dec. 12. Then the Browns will face the Raiders, Packers, Steelers, and Bengals to end the 2021 season.