Browns Receiver Speaks Up About ‘Turning On’ Baker Mayfield

Getty Images Rashard Higgins of the Cleveland Browns celebrates with Odell Beckham Jr.

The Cleveland Browns did not make any moves at the trade deadline but there was plenty of drama to go around as allies of Odell Beckham Jr. pleaded for him to be dealt.

Much of the talk surrounding Beckham linked back to quarterback Baker Mayfield, who he’s been unable to get on the same page with since landing in Cleveland. Beckham’s father, Odell Beckham Sr., had words for Mayfield on social media in a lengthy Instagram post profiling all the times he has failed to hit an open OBJ this season.

“Generally Behind Da Scene, BUT NOT TODAY,” the elder Beckham wrote, with a series of hashtags that read “playinghurt,” “disrespectful” and “7-eleven,” a reference meaning he’s always open.

Browns veteran receiver Rashard Higgins was one of the Cleveland players who liked the post but later responded to a question about the receivers “turning on” Mayfield.

“Wood never,” Higgins tweeted. “People make stories out of anything.”

Higgins has had his ups and downs but has been one Mayfield’s most reliable targets since his rookie season. He has 14 catches for 168 yards this season and one touchdown. Beckham has 17 catches for 232 yards and no touchdowns. Higgins is on a one-year, $2.3 million deal, while Beckham is making nearly $16 million for his services this season.

Browns Looking For Answers on Offense

Kevin Stefanski: "We have to find ways to be explosive with the ball"Head Coach Kevin Stefanski addresses the media on November 1st, 2021. #MondayMedia #PressConference2021-11-01T16:43:41Z

The Browns have been decimated by injuries and the offense had a hard time getting on track in a 15-10 loss to the Steelers on Sunday. Mayfield and Beckham are playing through shoulder injuries, while some banged up offensive lineman and Kareem Hunt being out slowed the usually reliable run game.

The Browns are spending a ton of money for Beckham and his good friend Jarvis Landry, but they’ve been unable to be a significant part of the offense. Landry had a particularly brutal performance last time out, fumbling away the ball deep in Steelers’ territory on Sunday and dropping a few key catches.

“We just missed some opportunities is probably the easiest way of putting it. That is where I need to do a better job. I have to put guys in position to go make a play,” Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski told reporters on Monday, November 1. “The guys will tell you, when there are plays that they want to make them. There were some drops yesterday. That is uncharacteristic. We have to make those plays, and there are plays when I know I can do a better job. We have to take care of it, we have to address it and we have to practice it, but we absolutely have to be better.”

While Beckham made the full-court press to force a trade, it’s clear that his head coach wants him to remain in Cleveland — at least for the rest of the season.

“I just think he can affect the game,” Stefanski said when asked if he though if Beckham is still a dynamic player. “That is where I am really making sure that myself and coaches we have to put him in position to make some plays.”

Winning Will Solve Everything for the Browns

Baker Mayfield Postgame Press Conference vs. SteelersBaker Mayfield addressed the media following the Browns’ 15-10 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on October 31, 2021.#PostgameHome #PressConference2021-10-31T20:57:37Z

Things appear grim for the Browns at the moment at 4-4 but the season is not lost just yet. The AFC North is a logjam and the Browns still have a 33% chance to make the playoffs, per FiveThirtyEight.

The Browns will, hopefully, only get healthier after a flurry of injuries to open the year and a few big wins in a row could serve as a mighty catalyst in turning things around.

“I am sure all around within the sports media world, it is going to be ‘the world is falling down,’ but we are going to handle it within the building and make the corrections we need to execute,” Mayfield said on Sunday after losing to the Steelers. “We have a good enough team. It is just that we are kicking ourselves in the foot right now and stubbing our toes. Just need to execute. We need to get that confidence and get that rhythm and just build one week at a time. That is why I said we are going to chip away. There is no big-picture mindset. We have to chip away one week at a time, and we will do just that.”

The Browns will face Joe Burrow and the Bengals on Sunday in another crucial AFC North clash.

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