Press Conference

Baker Mayfield: 'I have to have a short memory playing quarterback'

Cleveland's QB, players meet with reporters Wednesday of Week 7

QB Baker Mayfield:

On how he is feeling physically and if he will be able to do more in practice this week: 

"Yeah. Luckily did not have any setbacks so yeah, should be able to do a lot more in practice and get more reps."  

On how he is able to shake off the loss and his performance and move forward to the next game and next play: 

"I have to have a short memory playing quarterback. That is for the good and the bad but especially the bad. Getting back to the basics, finding completions. It is tough when you are in a momentum swing like that to get back on track, but at this position, you have to be able to do that. It is about finding completions and getting back to basics." 

On what stood out about his performances in the two losses this season: 

"I think there were a lot of completions left out there to not let them up front pin their ears back and bring a bunch of different crazy blitzes, get the ball out of their hands and not let them get a little taste for hitting the quarterback and getting some of those sacks. Just playing the field position game early on is more than OK. You do not have to win it in the first quarter. I think there are things and little-details wise that I can do a whole lot better." 

On if he feels there is more pressure on him to perform with RB Nick Chubb out: 

"No. Obviously, losing a player and person like Nick is never great, but no, I do not feel any added pressure because of that." 

On if his confidence takes a hit after Sunday's game, given his comment earlier this season that he doubted himself at points last season: 

"No, I think it is all very correctable things that will be corrected. No, I do not feel the same way." 

On the importance of bouncing back this week: 

"Yeah, I would say the feeling throughout the building after that loss, 4-2 has never felt so much like 0-6 before. That is because we have very high expectations for ourselves. We are eager to get back to work and to get out there and fix the problems that we know or are within our own control." 

On if he helps take the lead on lifting the mood in the building after a loss: 

"It is something I definitely have to do, but it has to be everybody. We have to realize that it only counts for one loss, and the most the important game is the next one. We have to get back to work and handle it with that mentality." 

On how to focus on now and not the upcoming 'stretch of games the Browns will be expected to win': 

"With that singular-game mindset, first and foremost. No matter what the expectations are on the outside, we have to go in there and handle it. It is the NFL. There are no gimmes. You have to earn it in this business so we have to handle it that way." 

On recent criticism from national media: 

"I do not give a damn what they say. It is within this building. We know we can do better. I know I can do better. That is how it is going to be handled. The outside noise does not matter. They get paid to talk. We get paid to do our work. That is how it is going to be handled." 

On the team holding each other accountable: 

"It is the next game mentality, but we know we can do better. I know I can be better, and they see that. We are all in it together right now. There is no 'the world is crashing right now' mentality. We are in it together. We are on to get to work and to move forward." 

On if the Bengals are playing differently than when the Browns faced them in Week 2: 

"They are doing a little bit, some small changes. Some personnel changes, as well. They lost (Bengals DE) Sam Hubbard and (Bengals DT D.J.) Reader on the inside so their D line, we are kind of expecting to react on how they are going to line up. St secondary wise, one new face. Schematically wise, they are not doing too much different, but they might disguise it. They are playing belt better as a unit. If you look at their games, the games they have lost have been all extremely close games." 

On former NFL QB Dan Orlovsky saying young QBs, including Mayfield, need to do a better job getting to their second and third reads and if that is something he has been working on: 

"I think when people say that, you can sit on the TV chair and go through the reads and say, 'He is hung up on this guy,' but yeah, I think when you are trying to have the play called and you want to get the ball to somebody and if it is not there, live to play another down. You can check it down and go through your reads. Most likely, if the play call, the one you have drawn up and you have waited for it, if it is covered for some reason that means something else is open. I would say that is where that is coming from." 

On Steelers S Minkah Fitzpatrick's interception and if he needed to progress through his reads more: 

"I saw him going left when we brought the tight end in motion over there, and then at that point, I had lost vision of him. It is about seeing the whole picture, and if it is cloudy in there at all, live to play another down." 

On how Head Coach Kevin Stefanski has handled the adversity from the loss with the team: 

"Control we can control, which is a lot of corrections and mistakes that we can fix and move on. Go back to work and handle it in such a way that we are ready to get back into action in the middle of the week." 

On if there are things the Browns offense can do schematically to help him function better in the pocket, if teams take away bootlegs and rollouts: 

"I think we can just be more efficient in the quick game and stuff like that. I think it is all around. If teams want to take away and they have somebody really worried about the quarterback keeping the ball, then that means they have one less guy in the run game or if they are stretching out the field horizontally. There are different things that we can do, and we can do better."

On how to counter when opponents try to take away certain aspects of the Browns offense's gameplan, including to eliminate bootlegs and rollouts: 

"I think we just have to be able to react, find completions like I keep hitting on, and then be ready to fight for 60 minutes because they can't play like that while game. Obviously, they are doing that and it is a numbers game. We will react and adapt, and I think we will handle it in that manner."

S Ronnie Harrison Jr.:

On his mindset coming back from injury and trying pick up where he left off with his pick-six against the Colts:

"Just like you said, exactly that. Just trying to get back in there and pick up where I left off. I just want to keep going out there and making plays and helping this defense and helping this team out as much as I can."

On how he sustained his concussion:

"I am not really sure what specific play. It could have been a couple of plays that just added up together. Like you said, it was kind of tough not being able to finish the game and be out there to celebrate the win. I am just glad to be back and be back out there with them and happy to get this thing back rolling this week."

On the number of concussions he has sustained:

"In the NFL, like two or three."

On if it is scary to have sustained two or three concussions in the NFL:

"It is a part of football. I play a hard-hitting position. I play safety, I play defense so it is kind of in the game and what I am used to. It is scary. You never want to get a concussion or go down with a head injury like that, but it is part of the game and just have to try to minimize that as much as I can."

On Bengals WRs Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins:

"I see a lot of athleticism. I see two playmakers, guys who the Bengals do a good job of getting the ball in their hands. They are two receivers that are pretty big. They can get open, especially Tee Higgins – good size, good speed. Boyd is not a small receiver, pretty shifty. They use him in a lot of different ways. I think they are two pretty good solid receivers that we are going to try to stop this week and slow down for their offense."

On if it strange that Bengals WR A.J. Green currently appears to be the team's third option:

"Yeah, definitely. With him being back, you would think that he would be like a top target coming back. I guess they see where they are having success with those other two guys so that is what it is."

On how much he has been able to study Bengals QB Joe Burrow:

"Not too much yet. We just started to digging in today. Really, I just seen a gamer. He is pretty smart to be that young and to know the defenses and to be able to read the defenses that well. Pre-snap I have noticed that and he does a lot of looking and reading pre-snap and makes a lot of his decisions before the ball even gets in his hands. That is next level type quarterback of being in the league and stuff like that. You see (Steelers QB) Ben Roethlisberger and (Packers QB) Aaron Rodgers do stuff like that. He definitely has some good in his game. A very smart player. Just going to have to try to mess with his eyes and his brain as much as possible."

On if he has a full grasp of the Browns defensive scheme now after being with the team for several weeks:

"Yes, pretty much so. I have a pretty good feel for it. I feel comfortable in the defense now."

On how the Browns defense can get back on track with creating takeaways after zero last week:

"It starts today. It starts with practice. I practice the way I play. If I do not do it in practice, then I am not doing it in the game. That is what I tell myself and tell everybody else. If we do not get interceptions and turnovers in practice, then it does not just happen in the game all of a sudden. I start in practice, practicing hard and trying to force takeaways. Just making stuff happen, and in the game it becomes natural and it becomes easy."

On if he felt his pick-six coming after having other passes defensed prior to it:

"Yeah, definitely. With the week before, with the one with (Cowboys QB) Dak (Prescott) and then that week getting my hands on the ball earlier in that game on the tight end, I kind of felt like it was coming. I just had to be patient and wait on it. Yeah, definitely I felt it, I felt it coming."

On how much practice plays a role in creating turnovers:

"For me, I do not believe in luck. I believe in hard word. That is what (Alabama Head) Coach (Nick) Saban always told me since Alabama. We practiced like that at Alabama to get takeaways and stuff, and it worked like that for us. I believe my sophomore year we had like 11 defensive touchdowns and like 16 takeaways – something crazy. It worked for us, practicing that way. I just believe it can put you in that mindset when you go into the game so you already thinking that way. It is not by luck or anything like that."

On if he expects his role to continue to expand: 

"Yes, definitely. Week to week since I have been here, I have been earning more playing time. It has been increasing. They have been expanding my role here. I think it is heading in the right direction." 

On if he is more comfortable at SS than FS: 

"I am way more comfortable because I played it the last two years. I have a lot of reps at that position, but I can play either one when it comes to game time. Whichever side I end up on, I can play it." 

On the fan reaction to his pick-six against the Colts and if that felt like a breakthrough moment after joining the Browns: 

"Being a new guy anywhere – it could be a regular job or anything – you always kind of have to prove yourself and feel like you want to prove yourself. For me to and to be able to go out there and help the team like that and make a play like that in my first start, it was just big. That is really all I have been praying for and hoping for is just to go out there and help in the way that I know I can. For me to do that, it was a big blessing and a big load off my chest because now they know what I can do and what I bring to the team." 

On what he did with the ball from his first career pick-six: 

"It is at my house right now. I have to put it in a box and get it framed up."

RB Kareem Hunt:

On what he saw in the running game when watching film from the Steelers game, knowing the Steelers have a strong front: 

"Saw a team that came ready to play and some things we definitely need to work on as a whole. That is all." 

On his confidence that the Browns can look like the No. 1 rushing offense again this week: 

"Very confident. We are going to get back to work and just keep getting better." 

On if he is eager to have a breakout performance in the run game, including a 100-yard game: 

"I guess. I would love it, but I am here for the wins and losses. My biggest thing is I want to win." 

On how important it is for the Browns to bounce back this week: 

"It is definitely important. We have to go back and fix some things and get ready to come out the next game. The most important is the next one." 

On if he feels any need to provide encouragement to QB Baker Mayfield after the loss: 

"We have Baker's back. Baker is an awesome quarterback and awesome teammate. Definitely going to have his back no matter what." 

On if he felt the Browns came ready to play on Sunday or if the team came out flat: 

"Could say a bunch of things, but we have moved on. We are ready for the next game." 

On the running game against the Steelers and if the lack of production was the result of the Steelers being one of the best run defenses in the league: 

"Most definitely. They have a great defense, and we knew that. They came ready to play. They did a good job up front. Those guys on the defensive side on the ball over there." 

On if he talked with RB Nick Chubb after the Steelers game: 

"We definitely talked, but that is between me and Nick." 

On dealing with the outside noise following Sunday's loss and the current mood in the building: 

"We are still in a great spot. We are 4-2. We never like losing, but we have to just come out and get better and play the next game. Do not let it keep going. Ready to get back on track." 

On going down early in the Steelers game and how that impacted the run game was frustrating: 

"I guess so. Hats off to them. They did a great job defensively." 

On if the Bengals defense looks different than it has in past years, particularly given playing time for Bengals DT Geno Atkins and DE Carlos Dunlap: 

"I guess so. I just know those guys have been playing well the last couple of weeks. We have to come ready to play." 

On how much he has talked with Chubb since the injury: 

"Talked to him right after the game. I talk to him all the time. Nick is a great teammate and a great person. He watched it." 

On how he is feeling physically: 

"I will be ready to go Sunday."

WR Odell Beckham Jr.:

On his experience last week missing practice due to an illness and having to pass several steps before being able to return:

"It sucks, but that is just what we have set up for this year. That is what they seem to have voted on and did all these phone calls and everything to come up with whatever the gameplan is going to be. Like (Head) Coach (Kevin Stefanski) said, just embrace the suck. It is what it is. It just part of the 2020 season."

On if he was worried at all last week about potentially receiving a positive COVID-19 test:

"No, not in an arrogant way, I just do not think COVID can get to me. I do not think it is going to enter this body. I do not want any parts of it. It does not want any parts of me. I think it is a mutual respect. I was not really worried about the test. More in my mind for me and my maturity level, I felt like it was the right thing to mention that I may have not been feeling well and I just do not want it to spread throughout the whole building, if there was a case that I would have possibly had it. I was just trying to be an adult, be precautious about the situation and try to handle it the right way."

On why he felt compelled to pull the Browns offense together midway through the game, given he has said in the past he is not always comfortable speaking in front of the entire team:

"It is just something that has been on my heart and it has been on my mind, even when we were winning games. As I have been in the NFL, I have really realized, OK there are 16 games. In the mindset within a game if you are getting beat up on, it is like, 'Alright, we have a game next week.' To me, I hate that more than anything. I feel like you should win every single game. I feel like you should give it everything you have until the last whistle because let's say you come away with a win in that game instead of you have to wait until next week and now you have a loss on your record and you could have just won that game and so on again next week. I am trying to change that mentality and that mindset, but I understand it is the NFL. It has just been that way since I have been a rookie. I have seen it with my own eyes. It is just kind of an NFL mentality thing. That game is important, not just to keep the winning train rolling but it is a divisional game and it counts for a little more. Just trying to find a way that we can get us all going."

On if he felt like Browns players appreciated the message and listened to him on Sunday:

"I do not know. That is something for you to ask them. I feel like I would not be taking any steps forward if I would not do that kind of thing, even though it is something that I do not generally do or really want to do because you do not know if the message will ever be received or whatever the case is. You kind of have to leave that thought behind you and just do what you feel."

On how badly he wants to win and showing his frustration on the sideline on Sunday:

"I am pissed. At this point, I really do not care to keep trying to make myself look like a good guy to the world and all that because I am who I am. I got pulled out of the game. The coach said this was the best decision. It is eight minutes left, and for me, I would rather take my ass whooping like a man. I would rather take my win the same way. I want to be out there until the last whistle competing. As you know, Dallas game in the first quarter, I got tackled, stubbed my toe into the ground, kind of had this lingering turf toe issue so if I am not going to play and I am not going to stand there with cleats on the sideline and my toe be jammed in there. At the same time, I never want to come out of a game. Win or lose, I do not care if we are up 50 or down 50, I do not ever want to come out of the game. That is always going to be my mentality. I am kind of over trying to play the right thing because I love him to death, but there are people who have plenty of rings and are considered the GOAT, and they do things on the sideline and other people do things on the sideline and they get away with it, and that is classified as passionate because they may have something behind their legacy or whatever it is. To me, we love this so much and it means that much. There is no way around it. I do not care if I have zero rings, 12 rings or 20 rings, I love this game of football and I am not going to keep dulling myself for the world to feel like I am mature or whatever word you would like to throw around it. I am always going to be me. Tired of losing. Tired of losing to good teams. Just ultimately want to win. One day, when it is all said and done, we will all clearly see that but in the midst and in the meantime while we are in it. I am sure we will not so I will just keep pushing forward and it is not going to bother me anymore."

On if his frustration was the result of a combination of the scoring margin and being pulled from the game:

"Yeah, a combination. Not to say that we should not have lost the game because they came out and just outplayed us and they were the better team that, and sometimes you have to give your hats off to the other team. A combination of everything. It is not like I get out here and I am giving up. I am never giving up on my teammates and never giving up on the team or anything like that so that is not really in me. I refuse to let that be the narrative of what was going on."

On if he sensed that the Browns came out flat last week and if there is a new determination this week: 

"I do not really know if you can get a sense of it. I kind of was saying it all game long in Pittsburgh, I am like 'This is one of those games you have to bring your own energy. This is dead. It is dead.' There is no other way to explain it. The interception in the first quarter was like 'Thank you. I needed it.' I needed to be ticked off. The energy just was not there. Whether it was flat or whatever it was, I just feel like we did not come out as fired up as they did, and it showed throughout the rest of the game." 

On QB Baker Mayfield receiving criticism from national Media and if he has talked to Mayfield and tried to be an ally for him: 

"Of course, I hit him after the game. I told him even before I ever got here, 'I have been through this fire. I have been in this situation. I am older than you. It does not seem like it, but I am older than you. I have been around this. I understand it.' My advice always for him is just going to be a reflection of what I have been through. I really feel this way, everyone has to go through their own maturation process to know how to move. For me, I have to touch the stove to know that it is hot, no matter if they told me before do not touch it. There are plenty of examples. I am usually the one who I have to touch it and have to burn my hand and feel it that way. I know what it feels like, and I can move forward. I think he is going to come out fired up. I think he has always been inspired the negativity, the doubt and the haters. We will see on Sunday how he responds. It is not about what happened to you. It is about how you respond. I am sure he is ready to go and he is fired up. The worst part about is you have to wait till Sunday." 

On when the line is crossed in terms of what is fair and unfair regarding someone's performance on the field: 

"I do not really know how to answer that question." 

On if everything is up for criticism in the NFL: 

"That is the world we live in, I would say for sure. People have an opinion that they may spit as fact at times, and that is just the way that this world works. There is no real way around it. I have seen it firsthand. It is just kind of the nature of the beast, I guess." 

On his reaction to hearing Stephen A. Smith say he and WR Jarvis Landry should ask to be traded due to Mayfield's play and ability: 

"For me, it is just all the same talks it has always been and rumors he or there or whatever it is. I am here. Like I said, I have Baker's back. It has been the same thing for me. It is a one day at a time approach. That was said yesterday, the game was on Sunday and today is Wednesday. Got practice, a bunch of plays and a bunch of things I need to memorize to get ready for Sunday. It is all just background noise. Really do not have much to say about it." 

On if he agrees with Mayfield saying '4-2 has never felt like 0-6 before' and if it is good or bad that the team is taking the Steelers loss so seriously: 

"I think it is pretty important. For me, I hate losing. I think you should go 16-0 every season – that is the goal. Of course, falling short of that would be great, but I just do not see why you should ever go into a game and be OK with losing it or whatever it is. We are 4-2. We are in a good place. I think it is just about finding confidence within the people within this building because I do not think people expected us to be 4-2 anyways. They might have expected us to have some wins here and there. You think about the NFL, a lot of the games that might have been lost last year were won this year in a sense, and instead 2-4, we are 4-2. That is the way that the NFL goes. That is the way that these games go. Also for me, the biggest thing is I think it is important for everyone to understand to have a mentality that we should never lose a game. Even if we are down 21 points in the first quarter, it is not like you should pack it in and get ready for next week. The mentality should be to win this game, and that is the only focus is to win the game that is in front of us and to win the day that is in front of us. That is the plan for this Wednesday is to win the day."

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