Baker Mayfield’s Heisman trophy is proudly displayed on the dining room table at his parents’ house.
It serves as both a paper holder and as part of his father James’ morning routine.
“(My dad) tips his coffee to it every morning,” Baker said. “Sadly, that’s what he does.”
It’s been a busy 12 months since Mayfield’s name was called in New York last year, so Wednesday was one of the first times he’s reflected on the experience. One thing that stands out from his experience: Mayfield treasured sharing a room with football royalty.
“To go on stage after they call your name – it’s a feeling that you can’t really describe,” Mayfield said. “I know it’s cheesy and it’s the corniest way to describe it, but — really though — you are sitting there in front of the stage looking at all of the past Heisman winners, guys you have seen highlights of for years. You played the NCAA Football game on PlayStation or Xbox and you have watched those guys. It’s something you could only dream of and to be up there, it’s a lot of fun.”
— Running back Christian McCaffrey is the Panthers’ all-encompassing weapon.
McCaffrey’s on pace for 1,000 yards rushing and receiving. He leads the team in both categories and he’s played 97.1 percent of the Panthers offensive snaps this season. That’s before Greg Olson was placed on injured reserve with a foot injury.
A lot of running backs have wide skillsets in 2018, but not many blur the line between running back and wide receiver like McCaffrey.
“I think that he is better at both,” Browns coach Gregg Williams said. “I cannot tell the difference, in that respect.”
Linebacker Joe Schobert will be tasked with covering McCaffrey in space in addition to his usual run-stopping duties. Rule No. 1 when tackling McCaffrey: Never assume he’ll be tackled.
“Everybody just has to swarm and make sure if one person gets there and takes their shot, the next guys has got to be there as he is making that guy miss to get him down,” Schobert said.
—Mayfield was one of two former Heisman winners who struggled taking care of the ball last week.
Panthers quarterback Cam Newton one-upped Mayfield with four interceptions against the Buccaneers on Sunday.
No one questions whether Mayfield will bounce back this week against the Panthers defense. His confidence never wavers; his motto has always been to play the next play. And Mayfield knows he failed by slim margins Sunday.
But seeing a former MVP like Newton struggle the same way in his prime shows how difficult playing quarterback can be.
“Obviously, you never have a perfect day,” Mayfield said. “Everybody has the bad days. It is the NFL; the talent level is obviously very high. (I’m) just doing the best I can to eliminate those bad days, and being consistent is the most important part.”
—Center JC Tretter (ankle), defensive back Denzel Ward (concussion), defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi (bicep), running back Duke Johnson (not injury related), cornerback Phillip Gaines (knee) and offensive lineman Austin Corbett (foot) did not practice Wednesday. Johnson’s absence was excused, and Williams hopes he’ll be back at practice Thursday.
Tight end David Njoku (knee) was limited.