Baker Mayfield “is fine,” Freddie Kitchens said Monday, adding he does not believe Mayfield will miss any practice time after playing through a hip injury in Sunday’s loss to the Seahawks.
Mayfield went to the locker room in the third quarter to get checked out before returning to play the rest of the game. He described the injury as “tender” afterward.
“It hurts,” Mayfield said, “but it’s a physical game of football.”
-- Rashard Higgins last played a down for the Browns in Week 1 of the 2019 season in their opening weekend loss to the Tennessee Titans.
A knee injury kept him out until Sunday, when Higgins was active for the first time since that defeat. The surprise: Higgins was dressed, but did not play.
Fans searching for answers after the Browns’ 32-28 loss to the Seattle Seahawks wondered why Higgins, who found himself a niche in Cleveland’s offense in 2018, wasn’t offered a chance to contribute. Kitchens’ explanation Monday was understandably simple.
"I think last week was his first week truly back and I thought Antonio (Callaway) had a good week of practice,” Kitchens said. “Higs should have played some in the game yesterday but the situation did not arise where he was in the game. We were moving the ball with three wide and one tight end. Well, not going to get into anything else and we just did not use that package. Did not feel like we needed to."
It is, of course, Kitchens’ prerogative to use personnel packages as he sees fit. Against Seattle, a rare team in that it plays its base defense of four down linemen and three linebackers more than it does a sub package (such as a five defensive back Nickel), it seemed to make more sense to use the tight end more than a fourth receiver. That’s why fans saw plenty of Ricky Seals-Jones flexed out as the third target in a trips set, and sometimes all alone on one side of the field as he was when he caught his 31-yard touchdown pass from Mayfield. That’s also why Pharaoh Brown played 23 snaps, and Demetrius Harris saw action on 19 snaps.
Higgins could see the field more in the weeks ahead, of course, as this team continues to devise ways to spread the ball around the field and ultimately score points in bunches. It’s just not as guaranteed as one might think.
— Jarvis Landry mentioned he suffered an ankle injury when taking what would have been a charge if he were playing basketball Sunday, but said he has “the bye week to get right.” Landry reacted to contact initiated by a Seahawks defender one play after Landry was flagged for defending himself in the open field with a Seahawk charging toward him.
“I’m trying to not block like I can’t block because of the rule changes and because I felt like I did nothing wrong on the blindside block that they called on me,” Landry explained. “I tried to take a charge and pretty much hurt myself.”
— Cornerback T.J. Carrie spoke with reporters Monday and emphasized what the defense has been lacking in the last two weeks: takeaways.
“We’ve got to get turnovers, man,” Carrie said. “I think we have one turnover in the last two games. That’s something that in this league and this game, you have to create extra opportunities for your offense. When you get turnovers, it definitely is a big momentum swing for the team. It definitely allows the offense to get the ball back and have more opportunities. Those are the things that we’re lacking that I feel right now, if we can’t get the turnovers needed to give our offense another chance, it makes it hard to play great ball all throughout the game.”
The Browns are tied for 15th in the NFL with eight takeaways on the season. They’re 30th with a turnover margin of minus-6.
Check out photos of the Browns in action against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday