CLEVELAND, Ohio (92.3 The Fan) – For years Baker Mayfield has fed off the critics.
He doesn’t have to look far to find his worst one: a mirror.
After fans and media ripped him for missing multiple throws against the Jaguars, he took to Twitter and acknowledged he needs to play better and will work to do so following Sunday’s 27-25 win in Jacksonville.
“I am not going to add any more pressure on myself, but I am very critical of my play,” Mayfield said. “I pride myself on being an accurate passer, and I did not do that. I am going to beat myself up about that because I know I can be better, and it pisses me off when I do not do the things I need to.”
Head coach Kevin Stefanski explained how he approaches mistakes made by his QB when reviewing film.
“You do not say, ‘Hey, make that throw,’” Stefanski said. “You try to give them something to sink their teeth into from a technique standpoint. We will work with him and mention some things that he can do in those scenarios, but I have seen Baker make unbelievable throws at practice. I have seen him make the hard ones and make the easy ones. We will just continue to coach him like we do with all of our guys.”
Mayfield, who is 20-20 as the Browns starting quarterback the last 40 games, failed to connect with Rashard Higgins and Jarvis Landry for touchdowns as well as running back Kareem Hunt on a critical third down in Jacksonville, but the Browns still hung on and came away with their eighth win of the season.
“I am trying to get better each week,” Mayfield said. “That is taking care of the ball and that is completing these passes that should be made in my sleep.”
Mayfield’s completion percentage is up to 61.2 this season compared to 59.4 a year ago and his touchdown-to-interception ratio has gone from plus-1 to plus-10 this year but that’s still not good enough in the quarterback’s eyes.
“Baker is different,” running back Nick Chubb said. “He will own up to things that he has not done well. Nobody has to say anything to him, and he will fix it himself in his mind of his own. We know that. We trust in that. He is hard on himself, but he wants to be great. He has a competitive nature. That is just who he is.”
No Browns quarterback had thrown for at least 2,000 yards in their first three seasons until Mayfield and he has the team leading the AFC Wild Card race heading into December, but the competition gets tougher this week against the top team in the AFC South – the 8-3 Titans.
“We have not played a complete game as a team, complementary through and through, but we are improving as the weeks go on and we are improving at the right time,” Mayfield said. “I am going to be hard on myself because these moments here down the stretch are the ones that you have to make every play count, especially in a game like this where it is going to be two strong rushing attacks that you do not know how many series you are going to get. We have to make those count. We need to keep improving. Sunday is going to be a great matchup.”
Luckily for Mayfield, his recent mistakes haven’t ended up in defenders’ hands.
Mayfield has thrown 113 passes without an interception, spanning five games. The Browns are 5-1 this year when Mayfield doesn’t throw an interception and are 12-3 all time in such games.
“It is a big deal. It is going to be a big deal this week again versus a team that is plus-11 [in turnover margin],” Stefanski said. “You have to always as a quarterback straddle that fine line of being aggressive and smart. He has done a nice job the last few weeks. Even in that last game, he threw some tight window balls that had to be perfect, and they were. He is doing a nice job in that regard.”
Big Blow – The loss of safety Ronnie Harrison to injured reserve leaves the Browns without their top two players in the secondary this week.
“Ronnie was doing a nice job, so I am disappointed for him,” Stefanski said. “It happened on the first play of the game. I felt bad for Ronnie, especially playing against his former team. He has given us a bunch of good reps. He has impacted the game. He has made big plays.
“Without him, somebody is going to have to step up and make those plays, and we are confident in the guys we have.”
While Stefanski didn’t provide a specific timetable or details of the injury, he indicated there was not fracture, surgery won’t be required, and the hope is Harrison will be back on the field before the end of the season.
Cornerback Denzel Ward, sidelined with a calf injury, has all but been ruled out this week against the Titans.
Local Flavor – The Browns signed defensive end Jamal Davis to their practice squad Wednesday.
Davis is an alum of the University of Akron and Canton McKinley High School.
“Our personnel department is always looking for guys that can help us,” Stefanski said. “He fits the bill. All of the personal stuff checks out. Being a local kid never hurts.”
Injury Report – DNP: CB Denzel Ward (calf); LIMITED: OT Jack Conklin knee), DT Jordan Elliott (knee), C Nick Harris (ankle), RB Kareem Hunt (thigh), S Sheldrick Redwine (knee), DT Vincent Taylor (knee), RG Wyatt Teller (calf), C JC Tretter (knee); FULL: WR Jarvis Landry (hip)