Browns' Mayfield admits he was 'lost' in chaotic 2019 season

Fri Aug 14 7:04pm ET
By TOM WITHERS
AP Sports Writer

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield throws a pass during practice at the NFL football team's training facility Friday, Aug. 14, 2020, in Berea, Ohio. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)


Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) talks with offensive tackle Jack Conklin (78) and guard Joel Bitonio (75) during practice at the NFL football team's training facility Friday, Aug. 14, 2020, in Berea, Ohio. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)


Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry catches a pass during practice at the NFL football team's training facility Friday, Aug. 14, 2020, in Berea, Ohio. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)


Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, left, talks with head coach Kevin Stefanski during practice at the NFL football team's training facility Friday, Aug. 14, 2020, in Berea, Ohio. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)


Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski watches a drill during practice at the NFL football team's training facility Friday, Aug. 14, 2020, in Berea, Ohio. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)


Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett (95) talks with a coach during practice at the NFL football team's training facility Friday, Aug. 14, 2020, in Berea, Ohio. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)


BEREA, Ohio (AP) Baker Mayfield knew he needed to drop some weight, and maybe a little of the attitude.

If there was anything the Browns' self-assured quarterback learned during a chaotic, losing 2019 season in Cleveland it was that he had to change.

''I would say I lost myself not having that success, not finding out what was working,'' he said. ''I tried different ways of trying to have that success, and I didn't find it. I lost myself in that, and I wasn't able to be who I am for these guys on the team.''

Mayfield opened up about those struggles - and more - that he faced in his second NFL season on Friday before the Browns held their first training camp practice under first-year coach Kevin Stefanski.

For Mayfield, this past offseason provided the chance for a restart, and the 2017 Heisman Trophy winner and 2018 No. 1 overall draft pick who has spent his football life proving people wrong, dedicated himself to becoming a better player and leader.

He arrived at camp in great shape after working with a dietitian and changing his eating habits - ''my Mexican food fix'' - and re-shaping his body through weight training and strength conditioning. General manager Andrew Berry said Mayfield added four pounds of lean mass while also cutting fat.

Mayfield said he got out of shape last season partly because injuries prevented him from working out the way he would have liked. He needed to be more mobile, and just couldn't move like he once did.

''I was not able to work out as much being beat up,'' said Mayfield, who dealt with an injured hand and badly bruised ribs last season. ''I was heavier than I was ever playing before at a playing weight. I needed to (make physical changes) to be able to have the scrambling ability and to be able to move in the pocket.''

''That is my job to be in prime physical shape to show up and do my job on Sundays. That was definitely a key factor in that and being back. Look good, feel good, play good.''

He's also more emotionally fit.

The losing has taken its toll on Mayfield, whose massive success at Oklahoma was followed by 18 losses over two seasons in Cleveland. In addition, he's playing for his fourth coach and third offensive coordinator in three years.

So while doing reps with dumbbells, Mayfield worked on his mind.

''In a much better state mentally,'' he said when asked about the difference from a year ago. ''Obviously, physically, I put in the work. Just ready to roll, attack and get back to where I need to be to be the leader for this team and for this franchise.''

Mayfield is noticeably trimmer, and while there's not yet much evidence to show that he's toned down the swagger he exudes on the field, his teammates have noticed a change in the 25-year-old.

''His attitude towards this season is at a heightened level,'' Pro Bowl wide receiver Jarvis Landry said. ''It is fun to see him out here. It is fun to see him doing the things he loves with a smile on his face and making plays already.''

Mayfield and Landry connected on a long pass during Friday's workouts, which other than seeing and hearing Stefanski and his assistants bark out instructions while wearing masks, looked much like a Browns training camp practice in any other summer.

This one, of course, is very different due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But Mayfield, whose statistics plummeted after a record-setting rookie season, said he and his teammates are looking forward to moving on from a 6-10 season that crashed with Kitchens being fired and another front office purge.

The Browns added free agent Pro Bowl help on offense in right tackle Jack Conklin and tight end Austin Hooper, Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. are healthy after offseason surgeries and Mayfield has already made a favorable connection with Stefanski, who visited him in Texas in February.

Last season, expectations turned to excuses and Mayfield acknowledged he battled periods of self-doubt.

''Absolutely,'' he said. ''I think that is one of those things that I talked about with our team is you have to find that belief and you have to find that confidence within yourself,'' he said. ''That is what I have based my whole story on and my whole career on is confidence in myself and taking those chances.

''There were times, and these guys know that everybody has their moments. You can't just hold onto yourself. You have to have people to lean on, and we have those guys here.''

Player Notes
Chris Harris Sep 29 4:34pm ET

The Los Angeles Chargers placed cornerback Chris Harris Jr. (foot) on Injured Reserve on Tuesday and promoted defensive back Jahleel Addae to the active roster in a corresponding move. Harris suffered a foot injury in the Week 3 loss to the Panthers that is expected to keep him out for at least a month and potentially up to six weeks. With All-Pro safety Derwin James (knee) already out for the year, it's another blow to a strong Chargers secondary. The good news is that Harris will be back this season. Against a strong Buccaneers passing attack this Sunday, the Chargers Defense could be a bit more vulnerable, especially against wide receiver Chris Godwin in the middle of the field.

Kareem Jackson Sep 29 4:23pm ET

Denver Broncos QB Drew Lock (shoulder) did not participate in practice Tuesday, Sept. 29. LB Jeremiah Attaochu (quad), CB Davontae Harris (hamstring) and RB Phillip Lindsay (foot) were limited. CB Bryce Callahan (wrist), DE Shelby Harris (neck, quad), S Kareem Jackson (back) and S Trey Marshall (wrist) practiced in full. The Broncos did not hold a practice Tuesday, so the report was an estimation.

From TheHuddle

Dallas Goedert Sep 29 4:20pm ET

The Philadelphia Eagles placed tight end Dallas Goedert (ankle) on Injured Reserve on Tuesday, meaning he'll be out at least three weeks. In a corresponding move, the team signed tight end Hakeem Butler to the active roster off the Panthers practice squad. Goedert has a small fracture in his left ankle and also an ankle sprain. He'll be back this year, though, and was a big part of the team's passing game before going down, so he's worth stashing if you have the extra roster space. A banged-up Philly receiving corps will now rely more heavily on Zach Ertz and DeSean Jackson, if he's healthy to go in Week 4. Greg Ward Jr. might be worth a flier off the waiver wire in deeper leagues.

From RotoBaller

Jahleel Addae Sep 29 4:13pm ET

Los Angeles Chargers CB Chris Harris Jr. (foot) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list with a foot injury Tuesday, Sept. 29. S Jahleel Addae was elevated from the practice squad to replace him on the roster.

From TheHuddle

Natrell Jamerson Sep 29 4:13pm ET

Carolina Panthers S Natrell Jamerson was activated from the practice squad Reserve/COVID-19 list and returned to the practice squad Tuesday, Sept. 29.

From TheHuddle

Earl Thomas Sep 29 4:03pm ET

Free-agent S Earl Thomas (Ravens) has already taken in offsite physical - likely in preparation to sign with the Houston Texans - but the Texans sent him home before his scheduled workout after the NFL asked all 32 teams to review their COVID-19 procedures for bringing in new players, according to sources.

From TheHuddle

Kai Forbath Sep 29 4:03pm ET

Free-agent PKs Kai Forbath and Elliott Fry are expected to work out for the Atlanta Falcons on Tuesday, Sept. 29.

From TheHuddle

Dallas Goedert Sep 29 3:23pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles TE Dallas Goedert (ankle) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list with an ankle injury Tuesday, Sept. 29.

Fantasy Spin: Per NFL Network's Mike Garafolo, the "hope" is that Goedert can return at the end of his three-week IR stint, although it sounds like it is far from a guarantee. In the meantime, his absence should lock Zach Ertz into nearly 10 targets per game for an offense that may need Greg Ward to handle a similar workload given all the injuries at receiver. Owners should hold onto Goedert, as he has incredible upside at a position that lacks a lot of it for fantasy purposes.

From TheHuddle

Deone Bucannon Sep 29 3:13pm ET

Atlanta Falcons DE Austin Edwards was elevated from the practice squad Tuesday, Sept. 29. The Falcons also released CB D.J. White and LB Deone Bucannon from the practice squad.

From TheHuddle

Darqueze Dennard Sep 29 3:03pm ET

Atlanta Falcons CB Darqueze Dennard (hamstring) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list with a hamstring injury Tuesday, Sept. 29.

From TheHuddle

Brett Rypien Sep 29 2:10pm ET

Denver Broncos quarterback Brett Rypien is expected to get the start on Thursday against the Jets over Jeff Driskel, according to sources. Driskel looked terrible, albeit against a strong Buccaneers Defense, in the Week 3 loss, and Drew Lock (shoulder) will miss at least another week of action while he recovers from his injury. Rypien, 24, saw his first game action last Sunday with the game out of hand, going 8-for-9 for 53 yards and one interception. Even against a Jets Defense that has looked terrible, Rypien won't have much upside in an offense missing their top receiver for the rest of the season. Downgrade rookie wideout Jerry Jeudy and tight end Noah Fant for this one. If Rypien struggles early, don't be surprised if Denver goes back to Driskel.

From RotoBaller

Matt Ioannidis Sep 29 1:43pm ET

Washington Football Team DE Matt Ioannidis (biceps) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Tuesday, Sept. 29. DE Nate Orchard was signed off the practice squad to replace him on the roster.

From TheHuddle

Chris Godwin Sep 29 1:33pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin (hamstring) may not be able to play in either of the team's next two games as he recovers from a hamstring injury he suffered in Week 3 versus the Denver Broncos.

Fantasy Spin: It appears he would have an outside chance of playing in Week 5, but the Buccaneers are scheduled to play the Chicago Bears two Thursdays from now. With Scott Miller (hip, groin) batting his own injury issues, Justin Watson could be thrust into action as Mike Evans' tag-team partner in Week 4 against the Los Angeles Chargers. If that ends up being the case, Watson should probably be considered a low-end flex option.

From TheHuddle

Drew Lock Sep 29 1:20pm ET

There is a chance that Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock (shoulder) could play in Week 5 against the Patriots, but the Broncos have more hope that he'll return in Week 6 in a more favorable matchup against the Dolphins. This is why Denver didn't place the 23-year-old on short-term Injured Reserve. The offense was just unable to get into any kind of flow in Week 3 against a tough Buccaneers Defense, and it also doesn't help that wide receiver Courtland Sutton (knee) is lost for the season. Lock's return should make rookie Jerry Jeudy and tight end Noah Fant more attractive in season-long and DFS leagues, but the second-year signal-caller will remain a midrange QB2 until further notice with the Broncos dealing with so many injuries. Until Lock returns, Jeff Driskel is a desperation QB2 streamer in superflex setups.

From RotoBaller

Jamison Crowder Sep 29 1:20pm ET

New York Jets head coach Adam Gase said that wide receiver Jamison Crowder (hamstring), rookie left tackle Mekhi Becton (shoulder) and offensive tackle George Fant (concussion) will all be limited in Tuesday's walkthrough practice. All three players are trending toward playing on Thursday night against the Broncos. It's good news for a Jets offense that has been pitiful without Crowder and running back Le'Veon Bell the last two games. If Crowder suits up this week, he should be quarterback Sam Darnold's top aerial target, which would put him on the flex radar in PPR leagues. Crowder could see even more targets if Breshad Perriman misses another contest with his injury.

From RotoBaller

Damon Arnette Sep 29 1:10pm ET

Las Vegas Raiders rookie cornerback Damon Arnette (thumb) is visiting a thumb specialist on Tuesday after he injured it in the Week 3 loss to the Patriots, and he could be sidelined up to six weeks. In a worst-case scenario, Arnette would be placed on Injured Reserve. The first-round pick fractured the same thumb in training camp, so this is certainly something to watch moving forward. Either way, Arnette should be able to return this year for the Raiders secondary. The 24-year-old has been improving and has tallied 14 tackles (11 solo) and one pass defensed in the first three games of his NFL career.

From RotoBaller

Jermaine Kearse Sep 29 12:03pm ET

Free-agent WR Jermaine Kearse (Lions) announced his retirement Tuesday, Sept. 29.

From TheHuddle

Dallas Goedert Sep 29 11:03am ET

Philadelphia Eagles TE Dallas Goedert (ankle) has a small fracture in his ankle that will keep him out multiple weeks. He's not expected to require surgery.

Fantasy Spin: Goedert's absence will force the Eagles to rely more on Zach Ertz and Miles Sanders. Richard Rodgers could see a few looks, but it's not enough to move the needle in fantasy.

From TheHuddle

Dallas Goedert Sep 29 11:00am ET

Philadelphia Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert (ankle) has a left ankle fracture and not a sprained ankle, according to an NFL source. Head coach Doug Pederson said that Goedert will be out for an extended period of time, but the source said the timeline for a return shouldn't be too lengthy. Everything will depend on how Goedert's recovery goes. It's bad news for those that roster Goedert, as he had 12 catches for 131 yards and a touchdown in the first two games before getting injured after just six snaps in the Week 3 tie with the Bengals. Zach Ertz should see his target share increase with Goedert out, especially since Philly's receiving corps is really banged up. If you have the room, Goedert is worth stashing in an Injured Reserve spot since he should return at some point in 2020.

From RotoBaller

Patrick Mahomes Sep 29 12:43am ET

Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes became the fastest player to 10,000 passing yards in NFL history during the Week 3 win against the Baltimore Ravens, doing so in just his 34th career game.

From TheHuddle