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Yahoo Sports' Matt Harmon and Scott Pianowski discuss the Browns' successful 2020 campaign, including why people should watch out for Cleveland's offense moving forward.
MATT HARMON: I think Baker has really stepped it up. I still think that he's very Kirk Cousins-ish, that's the comp I've been making for him all season long. Not just because of the offense that he plays in but because, like, every now and again, Baker can have that game where you're just like, what the hell is he doing, you know?
And I think those games are going to still pop up for him, that's still going to be a factor, especially against tougher competition, against teams that can put pressure on him. There's still some limitations for Baker. But I also think he's a really talented thrower. I think he is a better physical specimen than Kirk Cousins in terms of arm strength.
I also think, like, Baker doesn't shy away from the moment like Kirk Cousins has maybe shied away from the moment. I think that's where people might hate that comparison because that's, like, the defining trait of Kirk Cousins' career. You know he's going to tear up the Raiders on a 1:00 PM Eastern time game, but what is he going to do against a great team on Monday night?
Baker's probably not that way because I think he played two really good games back to back in the postseason, in addition to playing really well to get them in the postseason. So I am actually excited. I know that they're-- you know, the narrative around the Browns will be, well, run heavy team, they had to do a lot of window dressing to get Baker Mayfield to this point.
But I actually think I'm really excited to see what this offense looks like next year. I think they should bring Rashard Higgins back because him and Baker have a great chemistry. But they also get Odell Beckham back. And I know-- again, another narrative is that Baker, better without Odell, whatever.
But, you know, this offense had not fully hit its stride yet from just a design and coalescing and Baker being comfortable in it until after Beckham got hurt. And I think that's more coinc-- like, correlation than causation to me. So I'm actually excited to see what Beckham-- and, you know, Beckham's, like, out there tweeting about the Browns, like, being excited about them.
I think, like, there could actually be some exciting stuff there. Beckham is probably at this point, because of all the injuries, never going to be the special talent that he was in the early days of his Giants career, which I'm very bummed about personally. But at the same time, he's still a good player. And I think he could-- this offense could actually be even better next year.
SCOTT PIANOWSKI: That is certainly the biggest question for them. Because they've got the coach right with Stefanski. And isn't it interesting, you kept mentioning Kirk Cousins. I mean, Stefanski had the experience with Cousins in Minnesota. I think Baker is good enough-- is he going to be, like, an MVP candidate? I don't think he's quite to that level.
But he's good enough that he could be a regular challenger for playoff spots and go deep in the playoffs. I mean, they were just maybe one or two players away from being in an AFC Championship game. They need to sit down with Baker and sit down with Odell and sit down with Kevin and say, hey, look, how do we-- Odell, you're one of the, you know, most explosive receivers in the league.
We got to find a way to get you back to where you were a few years ago. I would give Beckham a little bit of ownership in the offense here. Look, what routes are you comfortable running? What do you think we did wrong? What have we not-- how have we not best utilized him? Give him some ownership, give him some agency in the offense.
If you told me right now Beckham's going to be a Pro Bowl receiver next year, or like a top 10 fantasy receiver next year, I'll be like, oh, man, the Browns are going to win 11 games again. I mean, he's obviously the most important guy for them to figure out and the biggest conundrum because it hasn't always worked out for him in Cleveland.