Baker Mayfield hinted at “internal criticism” within the Cleveland Browns organization this week in an interview with Kurt Warner, a statement that seemed to catch head coach Kevin Stefanski off guard.
Mayfield was referring to the criticism he’s received this year, which has ranged from fans and media talking heads, to teammates’ fathers and others closer to the team.
“It comes down to trying to find an even balance of listening to those opinions around you that truly matter, friends, family, teammates, and that’s been the tricky part about this year, has been a lot of internal things. It hasn’t just been the outside noise,” Mayfield told Warner.
“I have to be myself and try and do my job 100%. The guys that truly know me understand that. We need to take care of business in the building, and I need to be myself for these guys.”
Stefanski responded to Mayfield’s claim during his interview on Monday with media members following the Browns 24-22 victory against the Ravens.
“I’m not sure exactly what that’s referring to,” Stefanski told reporters on Monday, December 13. “I talk to Baker every week, every day. I think we have a good line of communication. Our focus is always going to be on the same page.”
Insider Said Struggle is Real Inside Browns Building
The statement made by Mayfield got some insiders digging, including Cleveland.com Browns insider Mary Kay Cabot.
She reported that the Browns in-house radio show criticizing Mayfield hasn’t been well received, as well as issues with play-calling and the defense being upset about the offense not putting up enough points to win games.
The “disconnect” with the playcalling is the most concerning claim, considering how disjointed the offense has looked at times.
There’s been a disconnect all season between Mayfield and Kevin Stefanski in terms of playcalling. Whether or not they’ve discussed it behind closed doors, it exists, sources tell cleveland.com.
Specifically, there’s a feeling that the Browns haven’t played to Mayfield’s strengths this season, but that’s also been hard because he’s been so banged up. One source told cleveland.com that Mayfield isn’t the only offensive player who hasn’t been enamored with the playcalling.
Mayfield criticized the playcalling in the second half against the Ravens, calling it conservative.
“We did enough to win the game,” Mayfield said during the postgame press conference. “Check that box. We got conservative. We need to put that team away.”
Mayfield Said he Doesn’t Listen to Media Noise
Mayfield wasn’t asked specifically about his comments to Warner but was asked about the statement Browns star defensive end Myles Garrett made urging his Browns teammates to put in more effort.
“I did not hear that. I do not really listen to any of the media stuff to be honest with you. My job is to prepare the best I can and get our guys on offense the most prepared they can be,” Mayfield said. “I thought we did a good job. Obviously, whatever Myles did to spark the fire defense, if that worked, then great. We got the win, and that is all that matters.”
Some might find that claim less than believable, considering how Mayfield — and his wife — has sparred with media members in the past. With the Browns now in very good position to make a playoff run, we’ll see if winning can truly solve everything.