Baker Mayfield's biggest lesson from his NFL starting debut was to take better care of the ball.
Todd Haley's biggest lesson about Mayfield was the rookie quarterback's unflappability in the face of adversity (self-inflicted or not) during Sunday's overtime loss to the Raiders.
"His demeanor is great. I think that those are the things that you really like about Baker," the Browns offensive coordinator said Thursday.
"I have a feeling that he could throw one right to them and that he is going to come right back the next play and try to put a ball in a tight place."
Mayfield, who passed for 295 yards and two touchdowns, accounted for four turnovers in an otherwise impressive showing in Oakland. While the first overall NFL Draft pick took ownership of those mistakes — some his fault, some not — the Browns see a young, talented and confident player who's not afraid of the big stage.
"I am being very honest with you, I did not see any blink in Baker on any of those things. That's what was very pleasing to me. I get a chance to look in his eyes, and he did not flinch," head coach Hue Jackson said earlier this week. "That's what he did. In the end, we were right there. He put us in position again to have a chance to win that game. We just didn't do it."
Haley, who has described Mayfield as a bit of a "gunslinger," said he was pleased with how the quarterback balanced smart decisions with taking chances down the field. "Those are the things last week that I was talking about. We don't want a careless or reckless guy and I did not see any of that," he said."
This time last week, Haley playfully dismissed those already "carving a bust" for Mayfield in the Pro Football Hall of Fame following the team's comeback win over the Jets. He did so again when told Ravens defensive coordinator Don Martindale described Mayfield as "this generation's Brett Favre or John Elway" earlier in the day.
"I'll hold my stance," he said, laughing.
A game against Baltimore, he said, should prove to be another barometer.
"I'm excited about a lot of the things that he's doing," Haley said. "Like I said, this week will be a real test. We'll know a lot more come Sunday evening."