For internal use only? Not quite.
On Dec. 12, in an interview with NFL Network’s Kurt Warner, Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield cited “internal things” as an obstacle he’s had to overcome this year. What he meant by that was a bit vague, but it didn’t exactly paint a rosy picture of the situation in the ‘Land:
“It comes down to trying to find an even balance of listening to those opinions around you that truly matter — friends, family, teammates,” Mayfield said. “That’s been the tricky part about this year: There’s been a lot of internal things. It hasn’t been just outside noise.”
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Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski caught wind of Mayfield’s comments, and delivered a vague, coach-speak answer in response:
“I talk to Baker every week, every day, so I think we got a good line of communication,” Stefanski said. “But I think we just all — coaches, players — as we move forward, with all these big games, AFC opponent this week, our focus is always just gonna be on the same page, and doing what we need to do to get a victory.”
Stefanski didn’t exactly dispel Mayfield’s words, but coaches typically speak in tongues, so take this as a dodged bullet rather than an indictment.
It hasn’t been the season anyone in Cleveland had envisioned: With a myriad of injuries to key offensive players (including Mayfield), drama with wideout Odell Beckham Jr. (released) and middling offensive returns, the Browns’ hopes at an AFC North crown are, somewhat surprisingly, still alive.
Mayfield’s injuries have been a major focal point in 2021: He’s dealing with a fully torn labrum in his left (non-throwing) shoulder, as well as a heel and knee injury. He’s also dealt with a rib injury that forced him to sit out a game.
All’s well that ends well: The Browns topped the Ravens this past weekend to keep their division hopes alive.