To Damarious Randall, Baker Mayfield might just be a system quarterback.
After all, Kyler Murray stepped in and won the Heisman Trophy immediately after Mayfield left Oklahoma.
Mayfield sees that phenomenon a tad differently, however.
“Damarious is somebody that loves to talk,” Mayfield said. “He also said he should be playing professional baseball right now, and I think we all know the answer to that.”
Randall’s playfully disparaging comments are just another sign of the respect that Mayfield has earned within the Browns locker room. Randall wouldn't roast Mayfield if he didn’t respect him, and Mayfield wouldn’t be able to laugh it off if he didn’t have a strong connection to Randall.
“If you asked me in training camp, I would’ve wanted to beat up Damarious,” Mayfield said. “It comes with the process of learning each other and growing so that’s the good thing of where we’re at right now.”
It’s a good thing Mayfield and Randall share that relationship, too, because Randall isn't showing signs of easing up.
In the locker room after Sunday’s win, Randall teased Jarvis Landry for failing to outrun Luke Kuechly on Landry’s 51-yard near-touchdown, implying that Randall would’ve scored on play.
When asked about these comments in his press conference, Mayfield disagreed again with Randall’s outlandish comments. But that doesn’t mean Mayfield can’t see the value in Randall making them.
“With him, it is not about controlling (the trash talk),” Mayfield said. “He is going to be who he is. He does not care what anybody else thinks. It is finding ways to use that. When it comes to the trash talk in practice and in our locker room, I think it can be used for the greater good and you just have to realize that.”
—The longer the Browns hang around in the playoff race, the harder it is to ignore the painful what-if questions that linger from earlier this season.
The Browns suffered three close losses and weathered an unsatisfactory tie during the first seven weeks of the 2018 season. If even one of those games swung a different way, the Browns would not only be tied with sixth-seeded Baltimore in the loss column, but also exhibit much more control over their own destiny.
As it stands, the Browns need to win out and hope for the teams ahead of them to falter. And while the Browns plan to keep their focus on the evergreen task at hand, it contends human nature not to wish the circumstances were different.
“I think it is only natural for somebody to think that a little bit,” coach Gregg Williams said.
While the Browns are motivated to prove themselves regardless of the stakes, keeping the playoff dream alive serves as a motivational tool for Williams.
“This job is a tough job at this level in the profession,” Williams said. “The pride factor of seeing that possibility is still there does help.”
— Jarvis Landry was only supposed to run the ball once.
That modified jet sweep was marked for the red zone, and it had done its job. But Freddie Kitchens saw it work so well the first time that he had to try it again. It worked again — for 51 yards this time — and it set up the Browns’ go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Kitchens is clearly unafraid to implement new wrinkles into his game plan. He’s shown full-house backfields, pistol formations and, most recently, Wing-T counter runs.
He’s brought the Browns’ offense into the future with his implementation of college concepts, and Mayfield has reaped the benefits. Since Kitchens took over, Mayfield has completed 73 percent of his passes for 1,406 yards while throwing 11 touchdowns compared to four interceptions. He’s also been sacked just three times in those five games.
“It’s been great,” Mayfield said of Kitchens’ creative play-calls. “Just getting the ball into our playmakers’ hands and in the creative ways that he is coming up with, it is great.”