It didn’t matter.
“I did not think it was worth the risk,” head coach Freddie Kitchens said.
Baker Mayfield started at quarterback and looked to be in midseason form during Thursday night's 30-10 preseason victory over Washington.
“It is great,” Mayfield said. “We always say ‘next man up.’ We have to have that mentality. Whoever is in there has to have success and have to be able to play. Just having those guys out there and doing well that first drive, means a lot. We will go back and watch the tape. We weren’t perfect at all, but a lot of things to work on but a lot of good things that happened today.”
Mayfield wasted no time carving up Washington’s defense to get the Browns on the board. He completed 5 of 6 passes for 77 yards, capping the opening drive with a 24-yard dime to Rashard ‘Hollywood’ Higgins.
“I think it goes back to last year getting reps with him in camp in the second team, just building chemistry with him and being able to talk to him all the time and just knowing exactly what you are going to get out of him on every play,” Mayfield said.
Greg Joseph hit the PAT for a 7-0 lead that took all of 2:13 to secure.
After misfiring on a pass to Derrick Willies, Mayfield rattled off five quick completions.
The first went to Jaelen Strong for 11 and a first down, then Nick Chubb for 14 more. Chubb then ran for 12 before Mayfield completed back to back passes to running back Dontrell Hilliard for 14 yards each before the TD throw.
“I thought it was a good drive,” Kitchens said. “We did not have a third down. We were working our two-minute offense. I thought that was what they were supposed to do. They are supposed to get completions and big chunk plays. When we hand the ball off, we are supposed to block for Nick [Chubb]. I thought we did a good job outside, inside and everywhere. It was a really nice first drive.”
Mayfield is used to playing with tempo.
He was able to do it during the second half of last season that saw the Browns win 5 of their last 7 games and at Oklahoma, were he won the Heisman Trophy.
“I think there is a time for it,” Mayfield said. “In our division, we have to be able to run the ball and slow the clock down when we need to. There are situations when we can press the tempo a little bit. I think once we get comfortable in that, we can be pretty good at playing fast and having success. We have to be good at it all.”
Myles Garrett, who drew a holding call after blowing around the left edge, and Larry Ogunjobi started after missing a pair of practices this week while defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson and defensive end Olivier Vernon did not play due to injury.
“They wanted to play one series, and I am glad that they did,” Kitchens said. “Myles had a good pressure on the quarterback and made him throw the ball away.”