During the early part of his offseason, Baker Mayfield spent some time with legendary Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Together, they provided a memorable couple of seconds in the NFL's popular commercial to celebrate the league's 100-year anniversary.
It didn't take long for that TV magic to be made. Even still, that period of time will be longer than the zero seconds Mayfield and Brady share the field together Sunday in New England.
Yes, it's an exciting feeling for Mayfield as he prepares for his first matchup with Brady, the six-time Super Bowl champ who dumped his rings into Mayfield's hands in the commercial. He just doesn't have to worry about or game-plan for the longtime Patriots great.
"I think that everything the Patriots do, it all encompasses New England within their franchise with how they do it consistently," Mayfield said. "He has been a stable part of that for a long time, so any chance you get to go up against competition like that; it is a good opportunity to see what you are all about."
Check out photos of the Browns preparing for their game against the Patriots Sunday by team photographer Matt Starkey
New England's been all about winning this season -- 7-0 after Monday night's dominant win over the Jets -- and it's not necessarily been a Brady-led endeavor. Instead, it's been a defense that has dominated at levels the NFL hasn't seen in years.
The Patriots have allowed just one passing touchdown while intercepting a whopping 18 passes. The next-best team in the league has nine picks. The Patriots are allowing the fewest yards per game (223) and have yet to surrender more than one offensive touchdown in a game all season.
New England has been notoriously tough against young quarterbacks, and it's kept up that reputation against three members of Mayfield's 2018 draft class. Miami's Josh Rosen, Buffalo's Josh Allen and Jets' Sam Darnold combined to complete 31-of-78 passes for 336 yards and eight interceptions in losses to the Patriots this season.
"They move guys around up front, they try to give you to give the perfect look or perfect protection and they mix stuff up," Mayfield said. "They pressure you, they hit you up. If you are a young quarterback, you can see that. They have done that so far this year. We will see how they play us, but we have to be ready for pressure and react."
With an extra week to prepare, the Browns looked inward just as much as they're looking out to the immense challenge they'll face Sunday.
Since the first day of the team's bye week, Browns players and coaches have stressed it's all about them, not the opponent, when it comes to turning around a season that's started with a disappointing 2-4 record. Even when the upcoming opponent is the clear No. 1 defense in the NFL, Mayfield hit on that point multiple times after Wednesday's practice -- his second full session since sitting out last week's with a hip injury.
Mayfield is coming off a performance that featured a disappointing three interceptions but also included plenty of moments he believes the offense can build upon heading into this matchup. Cleveland scored touchdowns on its first three possessions, held a lead at the midpoint of the fourth quarter and moved the ball effectively, at times, on the ground and through the air.
Mayfield said the Browns are focused on expanding what they do best, eliminating what hasn't worked and minimizing the turnovers that have been far too frequent and have come at the least opportune times. That focus has been heightened even further with little to no margin for error against the NFL's top defense.
"For us, it is about us," Mayfield said. "It is a great challenge for us going up against a team like that, but we have to do our job. They are going to do everything they can to get us to not do our job well so we have to focus on that. Not worry about too much, focus on your job and do your 1/11th on offense, defense and special teams and go attack that each play.
"It is going to be a full fight, four quarters so we have to be able to do that."