With Mayfield, and previously Wills, Browns trying to create a culture

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Baker Mayfield has three injuries that have and will limit him moving forward this season. Many have asked why the Cleveland Browns are not playing backup Case Keenum in place of Mayfield until he is healthier.

The question is a valid one. The team is paying Keenum big money to be the backup for situations when Mayfield is not able to play. If a healthy Keenum is not better than a hobbled Mayfield, the argument goes, then they shouldn’t be paying him the big money.

This isn’t the first time the Browns have kept a player playing despite obvious limitations due to injury. In the first game of the season, left tackle Jedrick Wills rolled his ankle. In the following games, Wills was obviously limited and wasn’t able to finish many of them.

At the time, the decision to continue to play him was questioned.

It was not too dissimilar to the team’s current handling of Mayfield. Cleveland, at the time, had a well-paid backup in Chris Hubbard but kept rolling out the obviously limited starter.

It is clear in the handling of both Mayfield and Wills that the team values players playing through injuries that they don’t believe can get worse. Other injuries, calf, groin, hamstring, for example, have been dealt with more cautiously.

With Mayfield now, and Wills earlier in the season, Cleveland is making a clear attempt at creating a culture that values toughness, playing through pain and, maybe most importantly, giving everything for the team.

Only time will tell if the plan will work or cause friction with the players but the plan seems clear.