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News & Notes: Baker Mayfield's NFL honor 'a representation of the team'

3rd-year QB picked up the 2nd AFC Player of the Week honor of his career

Baker Mayfield was singled out, but the quarterback and his coach recognized that the honor Mayfield received Wednesday was a reflection of the entire offense.

Mayfield was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week on Wednesday in recognition of his five-touchdown performance in Sunday's win over the Bengals. After an 0-for-5 start, Mayfield completed a franchise-record 21 consecutive passes, a streak that was halted by an intentional, clock-stopping spike. His next pass was his last, a 24-yard game-winning touchdown to Donovan Peoples-Jones that sent Cleveland to a comeback victory.

It marked the second time Mayfield has won the AFC's weekly honor, but the quarterback wasn't interested in patting himself on the back for it.

"I have always thought individual accolades are a representation of the team and especially the offense," Mayfield said. "That one goes for everybody making the plays and what was necessary for us to win."

The players around him certainly rose to the challenge, especially after Pro Bowl WR Odell Beckham Jr. went down with what would be a season-ending knee injury in the first quarter. Rashard Higgins posted a career-best six catches for 110 yards while Peoples-Jones hauled in the first three catches of his NFL career, including, of course, the game-winner. Jarvis Landry was his usual, reliable self and helped get Mayfield going with his first completion of the game, a 28-yarder in the second quarter.

It went beyond the wide receivers, too, as RB Kareem Hunt played nearly snap and ripped off a number of bruising runs. TEs Harrison Bryant and David Njoku caught three of Mayfield's five touchdown passes while helping fill the void left by Austin Hooper, who was sidelined after an emergency appendectomy.

And then there was the offensive line, which kept Mayfield clean from start to finish and provided him with more than enough time to go through his progressions and identify the biggest openings in Cincinnati's defense.

Add all of those ingredients up, and that's how a player like Mayfield gets recognized.

"Anytime you get recognized like that, I think it is great for the guys," Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said. "You get recognized individually, and you really have to share in that with the rest of your team. Just thinking about the catches that the guys made in that game, the contested catches, Rashard high-pointing one at the end, David Njoku's catch in the end zone, it takes those guys to have a quarterback have the numbers he had. 

"Great individual award and happy for Baker, but I think it is also a testament to the entire group."

Myles Garrett Sidelined, Other Updates

Pro Bowl DE Myles Garrett did not practice Wednesday because of an ankle injury. Stefanski said the move was made out of precaution following Garrett's two-sack outing last week in Cincinnati.

Stefanski said he expects Garrett to practice later in the week, "but we will gather more information and know more later."

G Wyatt Teller (calf), LB Jacob Phillips (knee), Hooper (abdomen) and C JC Tretter (knee) were also held out of Wednesday's practice. Stefanski said he was not ready to rule out Teller, who has missed the past two games with his injury, for Sunday's game against the Raiders.

Stefanski said he expects WR KhaDarel Hodge, who was designated to return from injured reserve Wednesday, to play Sunday. Hodge missed the previous four games with a hamstring injury.

Asked if RB Nick Chubb could potentially return Week 10 following the Browns' bye, Stefanski said it was a possibility.

Always Adjusting

Stefanski said the Browns have adjusted the dynamics of team and position group meetings in the wake of the league's new COVID-19 protocols.

The goal is to avoid a situation in which a large chunk of a position group or, simply, a large number of players are forced to miss time if one player tests positive. The NFL has implemented stricter guidelines surrounding close contacts, and a handful of teams have already seen swaths of players miss time because of their proximity to a positive individual. The Raiders, for example, had their entire starting offensive line miss practice time because of their close contact to a teammate that tested positive.

As an example, Stefanski said Wednesday's meetings for practice squad players were virtual. Their absence from the building opened up space in the other meeting rooms and allowed players to space themselves even further apart. The team has also eliminated some afternoon meetings and, instead, added some length to its morning meetings.

"Not huge changes but just trying to be as diligent as we can and limit the exposures, limit the chances of close contacts," Stefanski said.

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