As the Los Angeles Rams slide into a week 3 matchup vs. the Cleveland Browns with an undefeated record on the season, there are many storylines around the NFL and the biggest one has to be injuries to elder QBs in the league, namely QB Drew Brees and QB Ben Roethlisberger. But probably more exciting... is two young quarterbacks meeting up with lot to prove in a prime-time game.
QB Jared Goff and QB Baker Mayfield are both #1 draft picks, loaded with talent, leading their young promising teams... and that’s where the commonalities end.
Goff and Mayfield couldn’t be more different. In fact, they’re the NFL QB odd couple and it’s not even close.
Here are the 3 reasons why:
Goff plays with the system, and Mayfield plays with his gut
It’s an old argument that Goff is a “system QB,” but it’s hard to argue against the idea that he marches under the leadership of Coach Sean McVay. Goff is a great soldier that fits the “we not me” mantra to perfection. If Goff makes a ballsy play, it most likely has the fingerprints of McVay and his coaching staff and not a “off-the-cuff” play by Goff.
Mayfield’s style of play isn’t dissimilar from QB Brett Favre — the gunslinger that throws on instinct, making plays out of nothing, like a kid at the schoolyard, scratching out plays in the mud with a stick and a bottle cap. Mayfield takes chances, which means his turnovers are going to be the fault of his decision making.
On the flip side, Goff’s turnovers are usually the product of poor execution.
Goff is the old model of what NFL teams want, and Mayfield is the new model
It used to be that every NFL team wanted a tall quarterback that could see over the defensive line and any dude that was even close to six-feet tall was considered unqualified with only a handful of guys as exceptions to the rule (QB Doug Flutie, Brees, etc... )
Goff is 6’4” and Mayfield is a generous 6’1”. And they play like it. Goff doesn’t move around the pocket because he wants to, he does it because he has to. And when he takes off, Goff looks more like a gazelle trying not to get mauled by a lion and less like a professional athlete.
Mayfield and fellow #1 draft pick QB Kyler Murray are both undersized QBs in the NFL and they are both doing their part to destroy the myth that a QB has to be tall to succeed. Mayfield scrambles around with an inspired bit of improvisation, using his athleticism to get the ball over the out-reaching hands of the defensive line.
Goff reps the west coast, and Mayfield is 100% Texahoma
This is probably their biggest divide. Both QBs approach the media and even their teammates in a completely different manner. And it makes total sense.
Goff grew up in Northern California and his demeanor is the essence of laid back. Goff isn’t going to rattle any cages when he speaks to the media about anything. By all accounts, Goff’s coaches and teammates seem to like the guy because what you’re getting is a young football player that’s eager to please.
Mayfield to eager to grab the microphone and speak his mind. He talks smack whenever he pleases, gets into it with former players and coaches, and gives constant fodder to the NFL media who can’t get enough of his drama. Mayfield has a big personality, possibly the size of Texas, and his brash charisma is pretty fun for the league (posing shirtless with a tiger turned some heads last season, but that was just a taste).
And Goff is not like that at all. He’ll give you a fist bump after touchdown, maybe an awkward dunk of the football over the goalpost, but he’s a company man that probably only gets rowdy when he’s with his bros in the privacy of his own home.
In short: Goff’s casual vibes are perfect for Los Angeles and dawg pound in Cleveland finally gets a quarterback that meets their passion and emotion.
What’s intriguing about this matchup between the LA Rams and the Browns is that both teams are stocked with offensive weapons that each QB can use to their heart’s content.
But it’s how they use those weapons.
Whether Goff and Mayfield have a bad or good game, it’s quite clear that as different as these players are, they fit their teams like a glove.