Baker Mayfield has never seen this before.
Seen what, exactly? Fill in the blank. He's never seen his coach let go, much less two of them midseason on the same day. He's never lost four games in one season as a starter, much less four in a row. In short: He's never played a season as difficult as this one.
But the Browns wouldn't put Mayfield in these positions if they didn't think he could handle it. Browns general manager John Dorsey drafted a quarterback because the Browns' culture needed changing, but he picked Mayfield because he believed Mayfield could weather it, which is the task at hand.
So how's Mayfield handling the upheaval? Is the losing wearing on him?
"We still have a lot of games left," Mayfield said. "If I was down about it, I do not think that I would be the man for the job."
Those words are Mayfield's intangibles in tangible form. The Browns need his unwavering confidence during this rough patch of the season. They need his walk-on mentality to spread belief that these failures are temporary. And so far, Mayfield is fulfilling all his leadership responsibilities, as his teammates will tell you.
Nick Chubb, like Mayfield, experienced nothing but success before arriving in Cleveland. He captured state titles in track and field and led the state of Georgia in rushing as a junior. He played college football at Georgia and finished his career as an SEC Champion. Now he, too, has lost four games in a row. But he has nothing but good things to say about the losing quarterback behind all four.
"He's done a great job," Chubb said. "Never looking back through all the pressure and all the outside talk. He brings the energy that we need. This team will follow him anywhere."
Breshad Perriman followed Mayfield to Cleveland after spending his first two seasons in Baltimore. As a Raven, Perriman defeated the Browns four times by an average of two touchdowns. He saw the worst of the Browns and still decided to join them once they added a new quarterback. He thinks the Browns have a great one in Mayfield because of his crazy arm, his improvisational skills and…
"Definitely the swag, the swag is on 100 at all times," Perriman said. "Just the way he is able to stay calm under pressure. That is why I love him."
The numbers don't support Mayfield as franchise-worthy yet. He's still just a rookie; that evidence will come later. For now, his role is to steady the Browns through rocky waters. And if his teammates' words are any indication, he's the man for the job.
"He has handled it like a champ," offensive lineman Chris Hubbard said. "He has that poise. I trust in him. And I know as an offensive lineman, he is getting the job done."