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After Further Review: Comparing Baker Mayfield's 2018 and 2019 Seasons, And The Stefanski Effect

Mayfield's RPO Efficiency Remains a Strength

7.8 yds per RPO run/pass Att. 2nd only to Kyle Allen among QB's with at least 50 RPO Pass Att.

Mayfield Struggled with longer developing plays (5-7 step drops)

In 2019, Mayfield struggled with accuracy on 5-7 step drops, completing 51.5% of his throws ranking 31st in the NFL. According to PFF, in 2018, Mayfield completed better than 63% and was in the top 5.

Mayfield Struggled with longer developing plays (5-7 step drops)

Mayfield threw 21 Int's in 2019 compared to 14 in 2018. Both are bad. Only Winston was worse in 2019. Baker did admit that he forced throws to Beckham and Landry. Mayfield ranked 4th in the NFL in dropped passed by his intended receivers with 30. 

Play Calling/Scheme

In 2019, Baker faced 3rd and long plays consistently where the Browns ranked 24th in average 3rd down yds to go (7.8). Mayfield faced more pressure due to having a higher rate of obvious passing situations. Third and long plays also eliminated the effective nature of the RPO.

Mayfield has been scheme dependent so far in his young career and will need to develop in key areas starting with improving his ability to call out protections pre-snap to help his offensive line. With Stefanski as the new head coach, the expectation is that the Browns will emphasize running the football, which can help set up play-action and place Mayfield in more manageable throwing situations on 2nd and 3rd down. Under Freddie Kitchens, the Browns found themselves behind the chains on 2nd and 3rd down consistently in 2019, forcing the need to run longer developing pass plays (5-7 step drops, or shotgun plays of equivalent depth) that would allow pressure to get home forcing Mayfield off of his spot.

The Stefanski Effect In Cleveland

Play Action Pass Game

Minnesota QB Kirk Cousins ranked 8th in the NFL in total play-action pass rate while also averaging 9.5 yds per pass attempt (10th).


Under Stefanski, Cousins attempted only one RPO in 2019

Sacks/Pressure/Blitz Rate

In 2019, Kirk Cousins faced a blitz on 24% of his pass attempts (4th among QB's with at least ten starts). Cousins was sacked 28 times with a sack rate of 6.31% (9th among QB's with 10+ starts). Cousins was under pressure on 10.81% of his total pass attempts (18th). Even when under pressure, Cousins avoided the big mistake throwing only 6 INT's and compiling a QB Rating of 99.7. He also ranked 8th in the NFL in throws under pressure completing 41%.

Play Calling/Scheme

The Browns have a lot of tools that Stefanski can deploy in year one. We expect that the Browns will run a heavy dose of 12 personnel with both Njoku and Hooper bookending the offensive front. Stefanski also has one of the top young premiere RB's in Nick Chubb and another one to back him up in Kareem Hunt.

In Minnesota, Stefanski was run heavy on 1st downplays ranking near the top of the NFL, running 57% of the time. The Vikings averaged 5.5 yds per play (run or pass combined). 2nd down is where the Vikings imposed their will in the run game running it 51% of the time (3rd highest), averaging six yds per play (6th highest) (run or pass combined). The Vikings ran the football 476 times in 2019 (4th most). On third down, the Vikings capitalized by converting a first down on 31.54% of their plays (11th best). The Vikings were in the top 3rd of the league in average yds per play on 3rd down attempts.

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