Baker Mayfield was feeling a little bit better Tuesday and hopes to gradually improve by Thursday for the Browns' primetime matchup with the Denver Broncos at FirstEnergy Stadium.
That's where Mayfield, who re-injured his left, non-throwing shoulder in Sunday's loss to the Cardinals, expects to make his 52nd consecutive start as the Browns quarterback.
The pain in his left shoulder won't be completely gone by then. Far from it. This is a different level of pain than what he felt when he initially suffered the injury Week 2, but Mayfield is confident he'll be able to play through it as the Browns look to bounce back from consecutive losses.
"I think that sets the tone," Mayfield said after Tuesday's walk-through. "Obviously, if I was in a physical state where I was not able to play to the best of my abilities and I was hurting the team, I would not do that because I care about winning, and I want to give this team the best position to do that.
"I want to be out there. I want to get healthy. I want to deal with it. That is just what it is about."
The next 48 hours, though, are pivotal for Mayfield, as he goes through multiple days of throwing to gauge his readiness for the game. Mayfield was a limited participant in Tuesday's practice and will throw again Wednesday as the Browns wrap up their final preparations for Denver.
"I think with Baker and all of these guys, it is a short week so you have to get out here, see how they look today, see how they look tomorrow and make a determination," Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said.
"I think you guys know Baker – he is a fighter. He is as tough as they come. I expect him to fight like crazy to get to Thursday. I think that is a great message to our entire team, and we have talked about that as a team. On these Thursday night games you have to fight, scratch and claw because it is hard, but it is hard on both teams."
Check out exclusive photos of the Browns preparing for their game against the Denver Broncos
Mayfield said an MRI revealed a completely torn labrum in his left shoulder following the Browns' Week 2 victory over the Texans. He's worked around the clock to build up the muscles around the injury in hopes of decreasing the chances of his shoulder popping out of place. It was unavoidable Sunday against the Cardinals, as Mayfield took a punishing hit to the turf on a third-quarter scramble.
Asked if the prospect of getting an extra 10 days of rest before the Browns host the Steelers in Week 8 were tempting, Mayfield shook his head.
"I couldn't care less," Mayfield said. "I am trying to win this one."
That goes for everyone on the Browns, who are looking to quickly move past their lopsided loss to the Cardinals. They'll have to do it with a roster that has been significantly depleted by injuries to a number of key players, the latest being RB Kareem Hunt (calf) and LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (ankle), who were placed on injured reserve Tuesday, and RB Nick Chubb (calf), who was ruled out for Thursday's game.
It's uncertain if the Browns will have some or any of a group of injured offensive players that includes WR Jarvis Landry (knee), WR Odell Beckham Jr. (shoulder), T Jedrick Wills Jr. (ankle) and T Jack Conklin (knee).
"No one is going to give us any mercy or feel bad for us," Mayfield said. "I am not doing it to send a message. I am doing it because we need to win. We are 3-3, and the most important game is the next one. We need to go out there, do our damn job and find a way to win on a short week. It is as simple as that.
"That is a part of the culture and winning-mentality mindset that we have been trying to build here is you should want to be out there, you should want to be playing for this team and you should want to be fighting for the guys next to you. If not, that is not the type of guys we want here. We are trying to continue to build that mentality and that culture."