If there's such a thing as making a statement in the preseason, Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns made one in Thursday evening's preseason opener against the Washington Redskins.
The Browns have been the most-discussed team in Training Camp after adding Odell Beckham Jr. and Kareem Hunt (who will be suspended for the first eight games of the season) this offseason to an offense that already included Mayfield, Jarvis Landry, David Njoku and Nick Chubb.
With an inexperienced team - one that includes some dominant personalities - and a rookie head coach in Freddie Kitchens, there's been a growing debate about how the Browns will respond to the highest expectations that have been placed on the team since they returned to the NFL in 1999. Well, Week 1 of the preseason is largely meaningless in the grand scheme of things, but it couldn't have gone much better for the Browns.
Without Beckham, Landry or Hunt active Thursday night, Mayfield, the No. 1 overall pick in 2018, only played for a drive, but he made the drive count.
With the Browns apparently using the drive to work on their two-minute drill, Mayfield led his offense on a seven-play, 89-yard drive that culminated in a 24-yard touchdown pass to fourth-year wide receiver Rashard Higgins:
In total, Mayfield went 5-6 with 77 yards and, of course, the touchdown pass.
Higgins, 24, led the way even after Mayfield exited the game, as he caught five balls for 98 yards. The Browns went on to win the game 30-10.
Again, it was only Week 1 of the preseason. But, as much of a cliche as it may be, you can only play the teams on your schedule. There will be many tests for Mayfield and the Browns in 2019. They passed the first quiz with flying colors.