CHARLOTTE, NC — While it may seem like most of Baker Mayfield’s teammates jumped on him last season after the Odell Beckham Jr. saga. and Mayfield taking out the season finale, that’s not the case.
Many of his offensive teammates remained in his corner, including Nick Chubb, Wyatt Teller, Kareem Hunt and Joel Bitonio. The relationship was somewhat complicated between Mayfield and Jarvis Landry due to Landry’s fierce loyalty to Beckham, but many of the offensive guys who developed close relationships with Mayfield, and who are significant others became close to Emily Mayfield, stayed in his corner and were supportive .
That’s why you saw Mayfield playfully troll Chubb during his Wednesday press conference, calling him a mime for never saying much.
In a pregame Sunday, Mayfield exchanged hugs with offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt, receivers coach Stump Mitchell, special teams coordinator Mike Priefer, quarterback Donovan Peoples-Jones and quarterback Jacoby Brissett.
Myles Garrett, who said he would be open to a postgame handshake with Mayfield if it came up, told cleveland.com last week that his relationship with the QB was “a little complicated” and that he refused to respond to Mayfield’s nice goodbye text to him.
Some of his former teammates, including safety John Johnson III, didn’t love that Mayfield took himself out of the season finale against the Bengals when he played the entire season with a completely torn labrum in his left non-throwing shoulder.
Part of the issue was that Mayfield announced after the loss in Pittsburgh, in which he was sacked nine times and had five passes batted down, that he would consult with his agent and make a decision on whether or not to play. Meanwhile, Johnson, who missed the previous two games with injuries, and others played in that meaningless game to end it with their teammates in solidarity.
It was a mixed bag, sure, but Mayfield wasn’t universally disliked.
It’s true that Mayfield was mad at Kevin Stefanski for skipping an offensive meeting
It’s true that Mayfield was upset with Stefanski, a league source said, for missing the offensive huddle the day after the Browns’ 45-7 loss to the Patriots.
Stefanski used that time to meet with Myles Garrett, who called defensive coordinator Joe Woods for his game plan in New England.
It’s not true, however, that Stefanski unduly singled out Mayfield for weaknesses in a film review afterward, a source said. Stefanski treated Mayfield as he did every other player in team meetings, pointing out the good and the bad.
Regarding the communication problems between Stefanski and Mayfield
Mayfield didn’t like having Stefanski’s “leash” on him last season, as evidenced by the “Off the Leash” T-shirts he was hawking this week. But as for the lack of communication with the coach, that is wrong, said a source.
Stefanski constantly solicited input from his offensive players — especially the quarterbacks — and considered what they liked and didn’t like about the game plan. If Mayfield wanted things to be different, he needed to be more vocal about it.
Instead, Mayfield chose to criticize Stefanski twice publicly after games: once after a narrow win over the Ravens for getting too conservative, and once after the loss in Pittsburgh for not providing rookie right tackle James Hudson III with chip help against eventual NFL Defensive Player of the Year. the Year TJ Watt.
Watt had four sacks that game en route to tying Michael Strahan’s single-season record of 22.5.
By that time, Mayfield was already well aware that calling out a coach publicly was against team policy.
Mayfield had a lot on his plate in 2021
In addition to the fully torn left labrum and having to play with an awkward harness most of the season, Mayfield had a lot of other things on his plate. The shoulder seems to have been worn on him mentally as much as physically, and he was left to wonder which of his teammates were with him and which were against him. He was also juggling some stressful issues with his family and entourage, a source said.
All of that, in addition to believing that Stefanski wasn’t using him properly, was a recipe for disaster.
When he talks about playing more freely this season, there are many layers to that.
Deshaun Watson’s plans
Watson worked in Houston and Cleveland during the early part of his 11-game suspension, which began on August 30. For the next six weeks or so, he’ll mostly be in Cleveland working out with quarterbacks coach Quincy Avery away. – place
Watson will be allowed to re-enter the Browns facility for team meetings and weight workouts on Oct. 10, and can begin practicing in full with the team on Nov. 14. If he meets the terms and conditions of his treatment program, he will be cleared. reinstated on Nov. 28 for the Dec. 4 game in Houston against his former team.
Greedy Williams’ injury
The defensive back injured his hamstring this week while participating in a special teams drill, and at first, it didn’t look that bad. But tests revealed it was a 4-5 week injury, and he was placed on injured reserve, where he must remain for at least four games.
The silver lining is that third-round pick Martin Emerson Jr. came on strong and made a compelling case to win the No. 3 cornerback job.
Emerson will be on the outside against Denzel Ward today as the Browns are in sub defenses, with Greg Newsome II in the slot. But all of the Browns’ corners and some safeties will occasionally serve as the nickel back.
Christian McCaffrey is circled in red on offense
Job No. 1 for the Browns, even more so than Mayfield, is McCaffrey, the Panthers’ dual-threat tailback. In fact, McCaffrey is almost as much of a slot receiver as he is a running back.
He will put tremendous strain on the Browns defense, and players such as linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah will need to be spot on. Safeties Grant Delpit and Johnson will also be a threat in containing McCaffrey, arguably the most dynamic player on the field today.
The Browns’ two-headed monster of Chubb and Hunt together match McCaffrey from a skill standpoint, but he’s one of a kind and will be a burden today, especially with the Panthers wanting to take pressure off Mayfield.
Big day for second-year pro James Hudson IIII
Hudson, who will start at right tackle in place of Jack Conklin (knee) will have his hands full today. The Panthers have one of the most attack-minded, aggressive defenses in the NFL — led by defensive end Brian Burns — and will try to go after the second-year pro. Hudson better come a long way since that loss in Pittsburgh last year. The Browns will have to give Hudson plenty of help today.
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