PITTSBURGH -- The Cleveland Browns struggled to have a consistent running game throughout the entire 2013 regular season, but that changed with the addition of 5-foot-8, 210-pound
In three games with the Browns, including two starts, Baker rushed for 171 yards and two touchdowns on 43 carries. He averaged 3.98 yards per carry.
“(I learned) to keep being patient, staying the course, wait on your opportunity, and when you get the opportunity, you’ve just got to make the best of it,” Baker said. “I’ve still got a lot of growing to do. I’m still a young player and I’ll continue getting better and getting ready for next season.
“(I was proud) that I was able to step in and play a major role to some of our success that we were having. Even though we were coming up short, I was glad I was able to be a part of that. I could see myself just growing and having a good future in the NFL.”
Baker rushed for a team-best 69 yards, including a 20-yard rush, on 18 carries in Sunday’s loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field.
With his production in Pittsburgh and the two previous games, Baker was able to earn the respect and admiration of his teammates.
“He’s done really well,” said offensive lineman
Since being drafted in the seventh round in 2013 by the San Diego Chargers, Baker bounced between the practice squads of the Denver Broncos and Texans before landing with the Browns.
Despite having to wait for his opportunity, Baker remained confident that he only needed one chance to prove he could play in the NFL, and he showed himself and his teammates he could be an impact player.
“I never stopped believing in myself,” Baker said. “I told myself when I was five years old that I would get to this moment and make the best of it. I’m going to go back to work, evaluate myself, get better and get ready for next season.”
Now with NFL regular-season experience under his belt, Baker plans on working on his pass protection and speed development during the offseason.
“Pass protection is definitely the key to staying in the NFL for a running back,” Baker said. “I definitely want to improve on that, and that takes experience, repetitions, and hopefully, I’ll continue to get a go at it.
“It’s God’s gift,” he added about the speed. “It’s not something that you can change. You can prepare all you want, but at the end of the day, it’s something that God gave me. I just mastered it, that’s all.”