Browns Writer: Baker Is Not The Same Player

Baker Mayfield has regressed since his rookie season, and the reasons for that are many

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
September 23, 2019 - 10:42 am
Baker Mayfield Browns

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The Cleveland Browns didn’t have a great night at the office Sunday. They lost to the Rams 20-13, looked lost offensively and fell to 1-2 on the season.

Browns coach Freddie Kitchens wasn’t overly eager to talk about it, either.

“Freddie gets that way,” Chronicle-Telegram Browns reporter Scott Petrak said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “He gets a little defensive when he gets asked tough questions and stuff doesn’t go right. This is a real tough loss for him, and he’s 0-2 at home. The way the game ended, it was a tough press conference.”

The Browns squandered multiple chances to tie the game and send it to overtime. One drive ended on a 4th-and-9 draw call that went nowhere. And another ended with the Browns throwing four straight times from the 4-yard-line – despite having three timeouts – in the final minute.

“I think Freddie would want those back,” Petrak said. “They just haven’t found the rhythm, and Baker doesn’t look the same either. . . . The big problem is last year the offense looked so good under Freddie as the offensive coordinator. Baker got rolling, he set the rookie touchdown record – and it just doesn’t look the same this year. Obviously they added Odell Beckham Jr., and they added Todd Monken as a coordinator, even though he’s not calling the same plays. It just doesn’t have the same rhythm and same flow to it. Baker is holding the ball too long.”

Mayfield finished 18-of-36 for 195 yards, one touchdown and one interception against the Rams. He is completing just 56.9 percent of his passes – this after completing 63.8 percent of his passes as a rookie.

“He wants to take off to the right, and that just shrinks the field for him,” Petrak said. “I don’t think it gives the offensive line confidence, it narrows his options – he just doesn’t feel like he’s seeing the field as well as he did last year. I don’t know if that’s defenses adjusting to him. That would be the most obvious thing, and the offense as a whole (is) trying to find its way. He’s looking for OBJ a lot. All those things go into it, but Baker is not the same player he was those final eight games.”

Defensive coordinators, of course, likely spent the offseason adjusting to Mayfield. Now he needs to do the same.

“He needs to adjust back,” Petrak said. “Part of that would be getting the ball out of his hands, maybe dumping it to Jarvis and dumping it to Nick Chubb, and he needs help with that from the play-caller and they just haven’t done it. He’s holding the ball too long, and he just doesn’t look comfortable back there.”

It certainly won’t get any easier for the Browns, whose next four games are at Baltimore (2-1), at San Francisco (3-0), against Seattle (2-1), and at New England (3-0).

Click below to listen to Petrak’s interview in its entirety.