Much has been made of the relationship between Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski and quarterback Baker Mayfield, although the second-year skipper maintains it’s much ado about nothing.
Stefanski gave a bit of insight on his relationship with Mayfield during an interview with Andy Baskin and Jeff Phelps on 92.3 The Fan on Thursday.
“It’s good. We talked. He’s going to get surgery, which is huge for him, and he can start the rehab process here and get ready to jump back into it,” Stefanski said. “But Baker and I, I think we work well together.
“I respect him. He respects me. I push him. He understands how we operate. We’ve had two years together, and I think as a team we’ve certainly just had our ups and downs. But I do think that we push each other, and there’s definitely a level of respect there.”
A report from Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com surfaced last week, citing tension between Stefanski and Mayfield. Stefanski shot that down, saying that both sides are looking forward to next year when hopefully Mayfield will be healthy and bouncing back.
Mayfield Has Been Critical of Play Calling at Times
That doesn’t mean that there have not been tense moments between Mayfield and the coaching staff. After a strong first half against the Ravens on December 12, the Browns were shut out in the second half, nearly losing the game.
“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 was also not too happy after getting sacked nine times against the Steelers, the bulk of those from TJ Watt, who was left on an island with Browns rookie tackle James Hudson III.
“Their front’s pretty good, it has been for years,” Mayfield told reporters after the game. “When you’ve got TJ Watt over there and you’re not giving your rookie tackle much help, it’s not going to be good.”
Mayfield also made a more general admission about the Browns offense, feeling like they could have been put in better positions.
“There have been a lot of ups and downs. Do I believe I could play better? Absolutely,” he said. “Do I believe there are positions that we as an offense could’ve been put in that would’ve been better? Absolutely. There are so many critiques throughout the year. If not, we wouldn’t be sitting here at 7-9.”