Baker Mayfield hopes to elevate Browns offense, play of everyone around him

The Browns watched as Baker Mayfield rallied them to a win over the Jets, lifting his teammates up in the process.

Now, after naming the rookie their starting quarterback Monday, the hope is that Mayfield continues to elevate the play of an offense that came to life Thursday night.

"I saw him make more plays with the guys. I saw the ball being spread around. I saw the ball going to the right person with zip, momentum and with assurance," coach Hue Jackson said. "I saw the offense start to make more plays up and down the field. 

"He played well, but he has to continue to get better. He as to continue to work. This young man is not a finished product by any stretch of the imagination, but there is a talented young man there who likes to play, who has a fire and who has an intensity and a competitiveness that you want. That's what you look for."

Mayfield, who replaced an injured Tyrod Taylor in the second quarterback of a 21-17 victory over New York, finished 17-of-23 for 201 passing yards and a 100.1 rating in his regular-season debut. 

It was the kind of performance the Browns had hoped from the No. 1 pick as Mayfield ignited a second-half comeback and jolted a previously stagnant offense to life. Cleveland finished with 323 yards after managing just 112 by intermission. Stats aside, it was clear to Jackson the unit was more efficient and more explosive with Mayfield under center. 

"That's why we're making him the starting quarterback because we believe that he can continue to grow, which helps the offense continue to grow and continue to get better," Jackson said. 

"I think his best football is going to be ahead of him, but he just has to buckle down, put his head down and work his tail off. I'm sure that he will do that."

Working hard has been Mayfield's calling card since coming to Cleveland. With an offense full of playmakers like Jarvis Landry, Antonio Callaway, Rashard Higgins and David Njoku, Mayfield said his objective — and the goal of any quarterback, really — is to make his teammates better. 

"You could be a terrible quarterback talent-wise, but as long as you make the players around you better, you're doing your job," he said. 

"I told you guys during training camp and in OTAs, my job is to get the ball in their hands. That's how they look better. They're doing their job. That is what they're paid to do – to make plays. That's what I want to do – get the ball into their hands. They're the playmakers. I've just always had that mentality. Let them do their work. I just get my job done."

Mayfield's teammates welcome the opportunity to deliver on their end. 

"I'm excited. Me and Baker, and the timing that we have, you guys have seen it. It is unbelievable. To have something like that with another guy is well worth it," Higgins said. "I'm very excited for him. He is going to get the job done. I am happy that he is here."

"What he does, he is very accurate. I think that he is just a great quarterback. Having a great quarterback helps the whole offense. I am really excited for us to keep this going," Njoku added. 

"The sky's the limit for him. Everyone thinks that just because we're rookies or second-year players that we still have a long way to go — and some people do — but I'm excited for him. I think that he's a great person and a great quarterback."

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