The Cleveland Browns will enter Thursday night’s game against the Denver Broncos without an injured Baker Mayfield and instead start journeyman Case Keenum.
While many are worried how the Browns will perform without their starting quarterback, former NFL linebacker Bart Scott seems to think it is not all that much of a drop off between the two.
“To be honest, the elephant in the room is that Baker Mayfield isn’t much better than Case Keenum anyway,” Scott said on ESPN’s “Get Up” on Thursday.
“Remember what Case Keenum did in 2017 in a run-centric offense when he was able to defeat Drew Brees in the playoffs? Talk about a guy that – I wish Odell Beckham can play because he needs to find a quarterback who can get the ball to him down field and maybe Case Keenum can be that guy ... Case Keenum has done this his entire career. He’s a guy that’s smart, has a lot of football acumen, he’ll get them in the right place, won’t put the team at risk and give them a chance late in the game to win it.”
The game Scott was referencing was the “Minnesota Miracle,” in which Keenum connected with Stefon Diggs for a game-ending touchdown in overtime to beat the Saints.
The Vikings offensive coordinator that year just so happened to be Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski. So Keenum has certainly had success in Stefanski’s offense, but to suggest he and Mayfield are not that far apart is certainly a strong take.
Mayfield showed improvement last year, leading the Browns to an 11-5 record and playoff win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, but he has struggled again at the start of this season. He’s thrown just six touchdown passes to three interceptions as questions surround if he is indeed the franchise quarterback going forward.
Keenum will certainly have his work cut out for him against the Broncos, too.
Running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt are both out with injuries while starting offensive tackles Jedrick Wills and Jack Conklin are both questionable, although there seems to be optimism Wills could play.
If Keenum could make the offense work without those key pieces, perhaps Scott may have a point.