Baker Mayfield's waited long enough.
The Browns quarterback's fourth season is here, and he can't wait to get it started in the last place he played.
Mayfield and the Browns get a quick shot at redemption Sunday when they face the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium — the same team and same place where the Browns saw their 2020 season come to an end in the AFC Divisional Round of the playoffs.
ClevelandBrowns.com caught up with Mayfield as the Browns wrapped up their preparations for their long-awaited season opener.
CB.com: It's been a long training camp. What's it been like building up to this big moment?
Mayfield: Anytime you have to wait this long, the anticipation builds up. The excitement with where we left off last year, obviously not where we wanted to finish, but just trying to set a new standard and build that winning culture. Everybody's excited in this building and obviously our fan base is as well. It's a long, long wait but it's finally here so we've just got to do our job.
CB.com: What's the balance of having last year's playoff loss drive you during the offseason and then moving past it?
Mayfield: I think taking a step back, big picture mindset is all of the little details really do matter week in and week out. No matter who you're playing you've just got to focus on doing your 1/11th when you're out there on the field. Just going out there and trying to execute. Obviously, you look up and if we win that game we're in the AFC Championship and then the next game is the Super Bowl. You realize how close you are but that's why I say all the little things matter.
CB.com: What was the biggest difference between a training camp like the one you just went through and the previous three in your career?
Mayfield: I think you really try to emphasize trying to get the bread and butter fundamentals down. You don't take anything for granted because it's not just going to happen. You still have to work on those fine, minute details that are so important. Then you can relate and do all of that off your experience in the past and be able to expand in those offenses and schemes you have to be able to have different looks and have answers for everything.
CB.com: You guys put hours and hours of work into this inside and outside of the CrossCountry Mortgage Campus and yet you're still working with your teammates after practice. What's the reason for going over the top with it?
Mayfield: The cheesy corny saying of leave nothing unsaid is so true because all of the little details matter in big games like this. You just want to make sure you cover all of your bases. Just make sure no matter what look we have we're on the same page and have a high-functioning offense.
CB.com: What went into the trip you made with Austin Hooper, Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. over Labor Day weekend? How long in advance did you plan it?
Mayfield: It wasn't planned too far out in advance. We were mostly trying to find a destination of where to go and obviously getting somewhere it's high elevation and not too hot. It was just to get away and just be with each other. It was a great opportunity to expand that chemistry off the field and continue to grow our relationships.
CB.com: Did you like that break before the season?
Mayfield: I did because you're stepping away from it. The fourth preseason game in the past we're not playing in it, either. You have that weekend off, so you might as well step away from the game, kind of hit the refresh button and get ready for the long journey that the season is and get ready to roll.
CB.com: When you entered the league, did you anticipate having this many big games so soon against Patrick Mahomes?
Mayfield: No. It's funny how it's come full circle. I hosted Patrick on his official visit at Texas Tech and now I'm playing him for the third time. Obviously, he's an unbelievable player but a great guy, too, and a good friend.
CB.com: This Kansas City defense doesn't get talked about as much as the offense. What makes them tough to face?
Mayfield: They do a great job of creating mismatches and finding ways to bring pressure and forcing you to make mistakes. We have to do a great job of taking care of the ball, doing our job and eliminating negative plays. We need to stay ahead of the chains and not put ourselves in a hole and just do our job.
CB.com: The status of Tyrann Mathieu is up in the air. How are you preparing for it?
Mayfield: We've been preparing like he's going to play. You never know what's gonna happen so I'll be interested to see if he is or not. We've been preparing like he is. We'll react and see who's going to fill his place. He's such a dynamic player that he does a lot of disguising in the back end so I don't know if I would expect whoever replaces him if he's not playing to disguise as much.
CB.com: What's the area of the offense you expect to be most improved from last year's game?
Mayfield: We try and emphasize our run game and physicality over and over again. I feel very confident just with our team's identity starting with that. I think just improvement wise, our quick game and getting the ball out, the easy completions of staying ahead of the chains and not getting too long on third downs. I think we've improved that area.
CB.com: Are you someone that likes to make the most of the extra time to prepare for an opponent? Or is
Mayfield: I think you definitely don't want to do too much in the prep work. You want to get into a routine. I think at a certain point you might start overthinking. You don't want to do that. You want to have your game plan. You want to know it front and back and you want to know it very well. You've just got to go out there and trust your eyes and do your job. There's no overthinking at that point.
CB.com: You're someone who thrives off the crowd, whether it's a home crowd or an away crowd. What's your excitement level going into a game with a capacity crowd for the first time since 2019?
Mayfield: Anytime you get to go into somebody else's house in a hostile environment, you get to see what your team is made of. There's a satisfying feeling about when you're driving the ball and having success and hearing the differences when it's loud and when it's not because of what you've caused. It's a good matchup for us, it's good for us to have to communicate and definitely emphasize knowing the game plan beforehand because the communication won't be as efficient with that crowd noise.