The Browns return from their bye week with a big game against the Ravens this Sunday and a loss will make it difficult for them to make it back to the playoffs this season.
That would be fodder for criticism of many in the organization and quarterback Baker Mayfield would be high up on that list. Mayfield has heard plenty of it already this season, but he told Kurt Warner in an interview for NFL Network that the outside voices haven’t been the most challenging part of the season.
“It comes down to trying to find an even balance of listening to those opinions around you that truly matter, friends, family, teammates, and that’s been the tricky part about this year, has been a lot of internal things,” Mayfield said. “It hasn’t just been the outside noise. I have to be myself and try and do my job 100%. The guys that truly know me understand that. We need to take care of business in the building, and I need to be myself for these guys.”
In addition to the Odell Beckham Jr. saga, Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com points to a disconnect in play-calling with head coach Kevin Stefanski as something that’s been an issue this season. Mayfield has also had to deal with several injuries and told Warner that he’s in “a much better place” than he was before the bye week.
That should help Cleveland’s chances of winning, but the overall state of the standings and a looming contract decision with Mayfield mean that internal and external pressure’s likely to remain in place for a while.