Baker Mayfield admitted he struggled last season as the Cleveland Browns stumbled to a 6-10 record and he personally got “lost” as he failed to meet the large goals that were set for him.
“I wouldn’t say it was a ‘poor me’ type situation. I just… going and having success all through high school and college and having that standard so high…the past couple of years have been a rollercoaster of emotions,” Mayfield told reporters in training camp, “and not nearly as much success as I’m used to, so I would say I lost myself by not having that success, not finding out what was working.”
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But with the Browns off to a 3-1 start, Mayfield has been able to relax and have a little more fun. The former No. 1 overall pick enjoyed a date night with his wife, Emily, in advance of the Browns home game on Sunday against the Colts and busted out some of his patented dance moves while in the car.
“Oh he was feeling that … date night!!!” she wrote on Instagram.
— Heavy on Browns (@HeavyOnBrowns) October 10, 2020
Mayfield has quite a reputation when it comes to his dancing ability, mostly from his days at Oklahoma.
It’s a crucial year for Mayfield, who is looking to secure his future in Cleveland. The Browns face a decision on his fifth-year option this offseason. But if the Browns continue on their upward trajectory, Mayfield will be dancing in orange and brown a while longer.
Baker Mayfield Has Reason to Dance With Browns Rolling
After garnering some MVP hype in the preseason following a record-setting rookie year, Mayfield finished his sophomore season in the NFL with 3,827 yards, 22 touchdowns and 21 interceptions, ranking next-to-last in both passer rating (78.8) and completion percentage (59.4%).
But Mayfield has transformed with Kevin Stefanski running the show in Cleveland. While the Browns have been mostly run-heavy behind its stellar ground game — ranking as the top rushing team in the league — Mayfield has done his part when called upon. He’s completing 62.6 percent of his passes and has racked up 729 yards and seven touchdowns. More importantly, he has thrown just two interceptions. Mayfield had a nine-game streak of tossing an interception before cleaning it up in his last two contests.
“The sky is the limit for us. I have said that,” Mayfield said of the Browns offense. “We are a very different team from Week 1. You can look at the calls, the plays, the schemes and all of it. We are very different, and we are continuing to evolve and grow and see what is working for us.”
Mayfield credited Stefanski’s play-calling for opening things up for him and allowing him to be efficient.
“I appreciate keeping the defenses guessing of not knowing what we are doing so they can’t exactly pin their ears back and key in on us too much,” Mayfield said. “It is easy for me when we do have certain plays and I can just go through our reads and not worry about how many people they are going to bring because they do not know what we are going to do. We have such a well-balanced attack right now, obviously heavier in the run game than in the pass, but the thing about our passing game is it is extremely efficient right now. That is because of the timing of play calls and the scheming up so obviously, thankful for that.”
Odell Beckham Also Finding Happiness in Cleveland
Mayfield wasn’t the only one having a rough ride in Cleveland prior to this season. Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was the topic of consistent trade rumors and his chemistry with Mayfield was a focus of critics.
Despite breaking the 1,000-yard barrier last season, Beckham did not live up to the hefty expectations set for him. He finished his first season in Cleveland with 1,035 yards and four touchdowns. However, he was basically playing from behind from the get-go due to injuries.
Beckham proved he is healthy — and happy — last week, coming through in a big way during the Browns 49-38 victory against the Dallas Cowboys, scoring three touchdowns. Beckham agreed with the sentiment of his teammate and good friend Jarvis Landry that he’s the happiest he’s been since his college days at LSU.
Jarvis Landry asked when the last time he's seen Odell Beckham Jr. this healthy, happy and focused: "Probably college."
— Ben Axelrod (@BenAxelrod) October 8, 2020
“Coming from college into the league, it’s just a completely different life,” Beckham told reporters. “I feel like college was an intro and it was just right before the social media era and all that stuff so it’s just a different day and age now and I think this is probably one of the best spots I’ve been in.”
The Browns are a pick-em against the Colts this week as they look to move to 4-1.