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Need to Know: Promotion to head coach won’t stop trash talk between Gregg Williams, Baker Mayfield

Baker Mayfield knows his new head coach better than you’d think. 

During his introductory press conference, newly-minted interim head coach Gregg Williams told a story about Mayfield’s first visit to the Browns facility. During his visit, Mayfield visited Williams’ office and gave him a “come get some lecture,” as Williams put it, and Mayfield won Williams over immediately. 

“That is what your quarterback should be,” said Williams, who has been the Browns’ defensive coordinator for two seasons. “He and I have had a very good relationship from Day 1.”

Williams’ new promotion hasn’t quelled Mayfield’s chatter, either. Williams said Mayfield talked trash again while the team stretched on the first day of practice under its new coach.

Williams called Mayfield’s taunts unprintable, and he wouldn’t have it any other way. 

“The game is tough, but you have to have fun,” Williams said. “You have to have some locker room fun. You have to have some practice fun. You have to have those kinds of things. When your quarterback is doing it, other people emulate that, too.”

— Wednesday wasn’t technically Freddie Kitchens’ first day as an NFL offensive coordinator. He called plays during the Browns’ final preseason game against the Lions, a 35-17 win. 

Though he didn’t play in that game, Duke Johnson said he loved the way Kitchens called plays that game. Johnson Jr. should know; he watched closely enough. 

“It was fun watching him call plays,” Johnson said. “We were just watching him call plays to see how excited he was.” 

Johnson also watched Mayfield throw for 138 yards and lead three scoring drives that game, Mayfield’s first as a starter. Mayfield hasn’t worked with Kitchens much since, but he’s comfortable with the foundation they’ve built thus far. 

“(Ours) is a great relationship,” Mayfield said. “(Kitchens) is a guy that is very honest and he is up front about a lot. (Detroit) was the first game, but I thought it went smooth and so that is the starting foundation for that and we will see where it goes from here.”

— How would you describe Gregg Williams? 

Zany? Aggressive? Eccentric?

Whatever word you choose, maybe the Browns offense could use a little of that. Christian Kirksey certainly thinks so. 

“I think the offense will enjoy having him,” Kirksey said. “Come and chime in on a meeting and drop a couple of F-bombs. I think it will be cool for them.”

-- Williams paid tribute to Hue Jackson and Todd Haley to begin his opening press conference, saying he respected both of them immensely as coaches. He refused to comment on any internal discord between Jackson and Haley.

But now Williams is head coach, and even though he will continue working his post as defensive coordinator, his philosophy will bleed into the other phases, too. And he’d like to remind you that he’s more than just a “defensive guy.” 

“I have been an offensive coordinator, quarterback and all that kind of stuff a long time ago, too,” Williams said.

—Defensive back E.J. Gaines (concussion), offensive lineman Chris Hubbard (toe) and Johnson (back) were full participants in practice Wednesday. 

Tight end David Njoku (knee), wide receiver Da’Mari Scott (shoulder) and defensive back Tavierre Thomas (abdomen) were limited while wide receiver Rashard Higgins (knee), defensive back Damarious Randall (groin), linebacker Joe Schobert (hamstring) and center JC Tretter (ankle) did not participate.

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