Browns Wideout Sounds Off on Controversy With Baker Mayfield

Getty Images Quarterback Baker Mayfield of the Cleveland Browns is trucked by strong safety Justin Reid of the Houston Texans.

The Cleveland Browns parted ways with Baker Mayfield nearly three weeks ago, but the residual affects of his last year with the franchise have yet to wash off.

The most recent example of this came to light in an interview between Mary Kay Cabot of and Browns wide receiver Anthony Schwartz. During Week 2 last season against the Houston Texans, the offense sent Schwartz on a deep route. The wideout pulled up short on that down, which led to an interception made by Texans safety Justin Reid.

The pick was bad enough, but the real trouble came during Reid’s 24-yard return. Mayfield attempted to tackle him on the play, which led to the quarterback sustaining a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder.

Subsequently, a portion of the Browns fan base heaped blame for the quarterback’s injury on Schwartz’s shoulders, marring to an extent the remainder of the wide receiver’s rookie season. However, Schwartz told Cabot that some of the responsibility should fall at the feet of Mayfield himself.

“It mainly bothered me because I kind of felt like people were trying to blame me for something when we both did something wrong on that play,” Schwartz told Cabot in June. “I didn’t finish the play and I don’t think he made the right read, but we were both wrong and unfortunately it ended up like that.”

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Schwartz Struggled With Blame All Year, as Mayfield Injury Lingered

Mike Hughes

GettyWide receiver Anthony Schwartz of the Cleveland Browns is tackled by Mike Hughes of the Kansas City Chiefs during a game at Arrowhead Stadium on September 12, 2021 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

The play haunted Schwartz for the rest of the season, partially because how unlikely and unlucky it was. The wideout discussed with Cabot in detail the unfortunate outcome of the interception and the impact it had on him throughout the year.

“You don’t ever think [Reid is] going to run all the way down and all of the sudden, he hits our quarterback in the shoulder and [Mayfield] tears his labrum. A lot of things have to happen for that to happen, and it’s unfortunate,” Schwartz explained. “That’s one of the plays from last year that I wish I could take back. But at end of the day, I don’t think it’s right for me to take all that blame. But as a rookie I couldn’t say anything. I just had to keep my head down and keep working and keep moving past it.”

“At the time, I felt I deserved it. I should have ran through the route and even if I don’t catch the ball, I probably can still break it up,” Schwartz continued. “But maybe the defense got Baker right there. Maybe he made the wrong read. There’s a lot of things that go into that play and you can’t just say ‘Oh, he stopped on his route. It’s your fault.'”

Schwartz Likely to Have Larger Role With New QB Deshaun Watson

deshaun watson ashley solis lawsuit update

Nick Cammett/GettyQuarterback Deshaun Watson of the Cleveland Browns throws a pass during the team’s mandatory minicamp at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus on June 14, 2022 in Berea, Ohio.

Schwartz is regarded as one of the fastest receivers in the entire NFL and is expected to have an expanded role in 2022 with new quarterback Deshaun Watson at the helm.

The wideout caught just 10 passes for a total of 135 yards and one touchdown during his rookie season, per Pro Football Reference, but the Browns’ offense struggled much of the year through an injury-riddled campaign for Mayfield.

Beyond what appears to be an upgrade at quarterback, and thus an upgrade to the offense overall, the personnel the Browns have at wide receiver should also afford Schwartz more opportunities to excel.

After the departures of Odell Beckham Jr. in mid-season 2021 and Jarvis Landry this March, Schwartz is currently fourth on the team’s depth chart, placing him one spot out of the starting lineup.

Rookie wide receiver David Bell recently suffered a foot injury and was subsequently placed on the active/physically unable to perform (PUP) list prior to the start of training camp practices. As a result, Schwartz will get more run with the first-team offense alongside top target Amari Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones as the preseason officially opens on Wednesday, July 27.

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