Baker Mayfield isn’t blaming his receivers, or the Cleveland Browns’ game plan, for his Week 6 meltdown under pressure.
“Just lack of execution. I think that we have been trying to answer those questions of why it happened. I think that we practiced well. I think that I was more than enough prepared,” Mayfield said on Wednesday. “The coaches had me ready. It was just on my part. It was up to me, nobody else.
“It just comes down to me not doing my job to the best of my ability, plain and simple. There is no way around it. I have to be better for this team and be that for our offense.”
The rookie quarterback had his first rookie moment, and the resulting 38-14 drubbing by the Los Angeles Chargers was an eye-opener for the young signal-caller.
Mayfield excelled at beating pressure and getting the ball out quickly in his first three appearances. Despite struggling with some indecision after his primary reads were taken away, his team was able to mitigate them.
Those struggles were amplified in Week 6.
Luckily, he has some experienced players in his corner who will help him while looking to improve his decision making in these difficult situations.
“There were a lot of obvious things in that game – get the ball out of your hands and do not turn it over – but there are things that you can learn from with timing, getting off of certain reads and why,” Mayfield told reports on Wendnesday. “That is the stuff that veterans like Ty and (QB) Drew (Stanton) can help me learn and speed up that process.”
Although one game is not an indictment, there’ll be plenty more opportunities to point out that Mayfield’s still an inexperienced rookie playing the NFL’s most important position.
What’s most important, now, is that he continues take these lessons in stride and adds them to his tool chest.
“I think it is a lot of getting back to the fundamentals, making sure that I do great on my progression reads and then on the shots that we are taking, if they are not there, getting off of them quick and getting the ball out,” said Mayfield. “It goes back to getting it into the playmakers’ hands.”
He was making enough happen when those things didn’t go his way until he was hobbled with ankle injury against the Chargers. But it might not have mattered. The Chargers were able to corral him in the pocket, taking away his ability to extend plays when the primary play has been beaten.
Even though improvising is a key skill for any NFL quarterback, Mayfield knows he was brought to the NFL to make plays the traditional way.
“Yes, that is what I did in college. When a play breaks down, yeah, I have been blessed with the ability to make plays,” he added. “When it comes down to it, I was not drafted here to run around and do things with my feet.
“I am not fast so I have to be able to throw from the pocket.”
Sometimes a play isn’t going to be there, especially with a depleted receiver corps, so he’ll be required to keep improvising to keep drives alive.
Tampa Bay fired its defensive coordinator this week to try to stop the bleeding of their worst-ranked pass defense, which is allowing over 350 passing yards per game in five contests.
Mayfield starting fast by making those quicker decisions will help the Browns add to their woes in Week 7.
The Browns have collectively bemoaned their slow offensive starts so far this season, but the quarterback knows the solution rides on his shoulders.
“Me doing my job. Start fast, do my job and get the ball out. Offense gets on a roll, and we build momentum from that.”