QB Baker Mayfield (1.13.21)

QB Baker Mayfield:

On being the oldest starting QB among AFC playoff teams: 

“My mother-in-law sent me something the other day and told me I was the old guy (laughter). It is because I took my victory lap loud and proud at Oklahoma. Somebody sent me just how close everybody is an age. It is pretty crazy to see between (Bills QB) Josh (Allen), (Ravens QB) Lamar (Jackson) and obviously (Chiefs QB) Pat (Patrick Mahomes). Pat has the most experience out of all of us because he was three-and-done at Texas Tech. It is fun to see these guys who I am familiar with and have been following for a little bit and to see them competing at such a high level.”

On what gives him confidence that the Browns can remain on track for Sunday after an emotional game last week: 

“Everybody here does a great job of just hitting the reset button. Like I have said, we have a big-picture mindset but a singular-game focus. You have to have that, especially right now. Every game is going to be extremely emotional and mentally taxing, and obviously, the physical part comes on Sundays. Each week, you are having to put everything you have into it during the week and then you empty that bucket on Sunday. You just have to hit the reset button. Right now, our guys are doing a great job of that.”

On what makes Mahomes so good: 

“For starters, you could go into the physical attributes that Pat has – he has everything you could possibly want. His arm strength is unbelievable, but just the different arm angles and things he is able to do – I know people talk about his no-look passes and all of that – but to be able to change his arm angle, you can see why he was such an incredible athlete in baseball and basketball, as well. He is just able to do things that a lot of quarterbacks can’t do. He sat out pretty much the whole first rookie year and just took everything in. Patrick is extremely smart, intelligent picking up that system. You can just tell guys want to play for Patrick, but when he is on top of his game like he is mentally, that pushes those guys even more.”

On how excited he is to play against Mahomes again: 

“It is always fun to play friendly competition and playing against people you are familiar with. He has gotten me so far in the league so I have to see what I can do.”

On what he remembers most about the Oklahoma-Texas Tech shootout in 2016 with Mahomes and him starting at QB: 

“We had to score every single drive in the second half to win that game. I know we scored right before halftime. I did a half-bootleg to the right, threw a touchdown to (former Oklahoma WR) Nick Basquine right before halftime. We had to score every single drive in the second half just to win because Pat threw the ball 80-something times and had 800 yards all-purpose by himself. It was an unbelievable game and unbelievable atmosphere. Just the back and forth is something that I will not forget.”

On if he has ever seen a performance like the one Mahomes had in the 2016 Oklahoma-Texas Tech game: 

“Honestly, no, I have not. Just the efficiency and spectacular plays, it was fun to watch. It has always been fun to keep up with Pat.”

On his comfort with the Browns OL this season despite injuries and G Blake Hance stepping up on Sunday: 

“When you have that many guys stepping up throughout the year, between (T) Kendall Lamm and obviously we lost Hub (T Chris Hubbard) for the rest of the year but Hub stepped up on occasions and (T) Jedrick (Wills Jr.) has gone down and Kendall has moved around a little bit and (G) Michael Dunn to start that game and obviously, like you said, Blake coming in, that next man up mentality for the linemen is a little bit different because they have to have that herd mentality together. When you replace one guy, they have to really be on the same page to have that success like they did on Sunday. That just speaks volumes to those guys, and not having their o line coach (Bill Callahan) two weeks in a row, that just says so much about those guys and their preparation, how much they truly care and want to help us win.”

On Chiefs S Tyrann Mathieu: 

“He has amazing ball skills. When that balls in the air, he is not like your true typical DB and he has skills like an offensive player. It starts there, but he is a ballplayer. He has so much recognition of schemes and concepts to where he can recognize stuff and be in the right place at the right time. He is a passionate guy who always leads his guys, and he is always around the ball. He is a complete player. People have always said that he was too small or this and that, but he never plays like that and he never will.”

On if controlling the clock is more important this week when facing the Chiefs and Mahomes and if their offense makes it more important to score with each possession: 

“It comes back to us being extremely efficient. You do not want to play the clock game early. You want to play to win, that is for sure. We just have to do a better job of scoring in the red zone. That is something that we have been good at all year, but we kind of had a lull there in the second half and had a few field goals instead of touchdowns. We want to be more efficient down there when it comes to touchdowns and also just staying on the field and third down percentage. For us, that will keep us on the field. It is just us doing the things we have been trying to emphasize.”

On Chiefs WR Sammy Watkins’ tweet in response to having competition against the Browns and if it surprises him that opponents continue to talk trash ahead of games and if he uses it as motivation: 

“I have no problem with it to be honest with you because if you do not have confidence, then you are not going to have success. Those guys have been doing it together for a few years now. They have a ton of confidence in each other. People get mad when you put it out there as your quote-unquote ‘bulletin board material,’ but I do not have a problem with it. It comes with the nature of this game that you have to be confident and you have to know and believe in yourself.”

On if he is seeing the field as well as he ever has in his NFL career: 

“Yeah, I feel like in the second half of the year, like I told you guys after the bye week we were able to sit down and kind of go through things and just make sure we were all on the same page. I would say it is about everybody being on the same page and just doing their job, and that makes everybody’s job easier. You do not try and do too much. You stick within the plan, do the little details right and stay efficient. The guys up front and the skill guys around me have made my job extremely easy.”

On if the Chiefs defense reminds him of any particular team the Browns have faced this season: 

“Caught me on the spot here. They are very good at disguising so there have been a few secondaries that are similar in that way. Now, they play a little bit different coverage, but they disguise extremely well. They have some guys up front who make a lot of plays for them. Obviously, you talk about (Chiefs DE) Frank (Clark) and (Chiefs DT Chris) Jones up front who are just making a ton of plays. They are similar to some teams we have played, but they know how to win at this time of the year so that is the challenge that this team presents.”

On how important it is to show self-belief to teammates as a QB and in the team and how important that has been throughout his career: 

“I think that is one of the more important things when it comes to being a quarterback is being that same guy and having the same confidence whether things are going with all of that and then also elevating the guys around you. I think self-confidence does that. If guys are not questioning whether they are right or wrong or if they can or can’t do something and they just go out and do it, the teams seem to play better. That is my belief. I do not have all the answers, but that is how I have done it and I am going to continue to try to do it that way.”

On if Head Coach Kevin Stefanski’s authenticity and if that is a part of the foundation and trust that he and Stefanski have established together since their first meeting: 

“You are pretty spot on with that one. I think that goes back to what he talks about having an open line of communication so there are no questions and there are no uncertainties about what we are going to be about and the foundation that he laid. People do not follow fake leaders. You can tell when you have a group of men who are doing this and everybody is counting on you, you can sniff somebody who is fake out extremely quickly. That is not the case here.”

On embracing the ‘underdog role’ throughout his career and if that has rubbed off on Browns teammates: 

“I would say we actually have a bunch of guys who everybody has different stories – it is not about the difference in stories – but it has taken the same mentality for a lot of guys to get here. I think that is one of the reasons why we have great team chemistry, even though we were not able to be in the building during OTAs and training camp was different. I think we have a lot of guys that have similar mindsets, and that is why we kind of gel and click.”

On if he feels like the Browns are ‘playing with house money’ this week because many people outside of the building did not expect the team to beat the Steelers and do not expect the Browns to beat the Chiefs this week: 

“Once again, the cliché thing of it stays in-house and our mentality does. We believe in ourselves, and that is why we are here. Like I said, we have a bunch of fighters who have scratched and clawed to get here so we are going to continue to do that week in and week out.”

On RB Kareem Hunt as a teammate and how much this game means to Hunt, given Hunt is facing his former team that won the Super Bowl last year: 

“I have become extremely close with Kareem, especially over this year. Him being from the area and being back home, it means a ton to him, but then obviously you add in playing his former team. I know that goes. There are a lot of emotions. He spent time and invested a lot into people there. It means a ton to him. I think that is going to permeate for our guys, as well, and they are going have those same feelings and want to play for him. It is like the give-and-take of Kareem is hurt that they are in the Super Bowl, but he was cheering for his guys but you know he wanted to be there. That is why he comes to work every day and works his ass off to try and get there with us now.”

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