QB Baker Mayfield (12.6.20)

QB Baker Mayfield:

On how he felt going into this game:

“Confident with the group that we have. I appreciate this team. I believe in this team. The group of people that we have, we have been building and improving as the season has gone on so I think we were all confident coming into this.”

On what today’s performance says about the team: 

“We are taking it one game at a time. We are handling everything inside the building. We know there was a lot of talk of this game leading up to it, but we weren’t worried about that. We were just worried about doing our job and doing it at a very high level.”

On responding to the Titans’ early score:

“When you play in a great game like this with two teams that can really run the ball, you go up and when a team scores and you answer right back, it kind of takes momentum away. Yeah, they do score, but when you score right back, they are like, ‘Oh, we have to go do that again.’ It is not just, ‘We are still in this game.’ It is a mental game, and we were able to make those plays early on in the game to be able to do that.”

On if he believes the Browns ‘are one of the elite teams in the AFC’:

“I have not watched everybody else to know what the compete team is. We are just trying to improve week in and week out. That is all we are worried about.”

On if it takes anything away from the first half for the final score to be so close: 

“We have to finish better, and it starts with me, 100 percent. There is no doubt about that. It is tricky when you get up by that much of staying aggressive or calling the dogs off type mentality. You want to run the ball to take the clock away to give them less opportunities, but at the same time, you don’t want to go away from what is working. It is tricky, but we just have to make those plays. Obviously, if I hold on to the dang football, then it is not going to be close or as close as it should have been.”

On his toe-tap to stay in bounds on his reception and how much he works on that:

“Every morning, I wake up and toe-tap and get out of bed before I get into the bathroom. Before I brush my teeth, I toe-tap.”

On why the Browns offense was so efficient in the first half:

“Great plays. Up front, the protection was great, and our guys were getting open and making those plays. It is a combination. Expect to come in and make some of these plays, and our guys are getting open. We base our gameplan and our style of play off the run game, but we are going to do whatever it takes to win week in and week out. In the first half, that was spreading them out and doing some things to take care of some empty space.”

On how much pride h takes in having five consecutive games without an interception: 

“I would be sitting here saying five games in a row with no turnovers, but I fumbled. Just taking care of the ball is the most important thing to me. It puts us in the best position to win. You look at statistically, teams that have the best turnover margin are the teams that have the best win-loss record. It is just that mentality of there is a fine line of being aggressive but also knowing the situation, pulling the ball down and checking it down.  (Head Coach) Kevin (Stefanski) is calling great plays. We have great schemes. These check-downs are making plays. We have great athletes. Trusting those guys that if I dump a ball down in the flat or over the middle, they are going to make a play.”

On the Browns defense making a stop on the Titans’ first drive and how that impacted momentum:

“It is huge. Our defense played lights out. The defense and special teams – I know we had a few penalties – but for (K) Cody (Parkey) and that group to be perfect on the day and the defense to be able to shut the run game down to where we could get up by that much to where they were having to throw the ball, that was our most complete game. I know we did not finish the way we wanted to by any means, but in the first half, that was the most complete game or complete half that we have played.”

On Stefanski trusting him and the Browns offense to throw the ball early this week:

“Those are the things that we have talked about, like after the bye week, going into it and looking at things that I like conceptually and things that he likes, how he sees it and getting on the same page. We are on the same page right now. That goes for (offensive coordinator) Alex Van Pelt and everything that we are installing and putting in week in and week out. It is just a very open line of communication. The fact that he trusts me that much makes me more confident. There is no doubt about that. We need to keep rolling. There are plays that we should have had. This game should not have been as close as it was so need to improve.”

On if he had a turning point this week and set his mind to improving and being more of who he is and performing as he is capable: 

“No, you do not want to play the mental game too much when you are playing quarterback. Just realizing what I am capable of, I have always believed in myself and I am not going to pay attention to BS. Just put my head down and work. The job is not finished yet. Playing confident, being who I am and not looking for any approval on the outside is how I have always been the best at what I have done. That is how I need to do it. I can’t let people change me because somebody did it different in the past. I am who I am, and I have always said that so I am going to continue to do that and improve, but then also trying to elevate the guys around me. That is the one thing that I have always prided myself on is being a leader and getting guys around me to play harder. The thing about being myself, it needs to be authentic to be able to do that, and that is why I am doing that.”

On if he has his ‘Oklahoma swagger’ back and looking more like himself: 

“Winning is fun. Winning covers up a lot of things. Having everybody on the same page and moving towards the same goal is the biggest thing. I say it time in and time out, back in the spring and our foundation that we laid about our goals, we are all on the same page. When you get a group that is hungry, sees the same things and works for the same things, that is when it really gets special. We need to continue to get better because the job is not finished.”

On if this was the best the Browns can play or the team can still play its best football in the future, given his comments after last week’s game: 

“No, I still think that is ahead of us. The first half was better than some, but we could have had touchdowns instead of field goals. I just think there are always plays you look back on. We won the game. We need to be proud of that, but we have to continue to improve because some of these plays that we can overcome may be the ones that cost us later down the road so we have to be able to correct those and make those big plays.”

On what is different about him now as opposed to a month ago or last year: 

“Whenever I am about to do something, I think, ‘Would an idiot do that?’ And if they would, then I don’t do that.”

On if he has a sense for how Browns fans are feeling right now with a 9-3 record: 

“I would hope they would feel exactly how I do. We are going to be happy about this win until we wake up tomorrow, and then we are on to the next. This is not the end of the season. This is not what we set out to do. We did not set out to be 9-3. There is a lot of ball left, and we hope that way so job is not finished.”

On his goals when coming to Cleveland as a rookie and if he is starting to accomplish some of those things, understanding the job is not done yet: 

“A little bit. I think we are definitely trending in the right direction. I would be lying if I said otherwise. One of my best friends played fullback at St Edward’s – fullback and linebacker – and I went to school with him at Oklahoma so I heard about the Cleveland Browns ever since 2014 and how much it means this place. I did not truly believe him until I really got here. It means a ton to the city, and then I realized when I got here, I was like, ‘Wow, this is real. This is a passionate fan base that lives, breathes and dies football, and Cleveland Browns football at that.’ I think it means a lot to them, but they need to reset their expectations because we all need to reset the standard. That is what I have been saying is there is a new standard and there is a foundation you have to continue to build on and improve. That is just the way we need to handle things, and I think we are trending in the right direction like I said.”

On if the Browns saw anything in the Titans secondary that the team to believe it could be successful in the passing game: 

“I knew they were going to give us some disguises. They are a great football team, but I believe in our guys. Whoever we are playing, it never matters. I believe in our guys, and we had a good scheme coming in to be able to attack some of these zones, and if they give us some man-to-man matchups, then we need to make plays. It is all about us right now, and that needs to be our focus.”

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