Baker Mayfield knows interceptions weren’t his only mistakes during a terrible second season as Cleveland’s quarterback.
He talked too much.
“I put my foot in my mouth a lot this past year,” Mayfield said during an TV appearance ahead of the Super Bowl in Miami.
On Friday, Mayfield, who struggled from the outset while the Browns had a disappointing 6-10 season, went face-to-face with one one of his biggest critics — former NFL coach Rex Ryan and current ESPN analyst. During the season, Ryan called the former No. 1 overall pick “overrated as hell” and said he regressed after a roaring first year, when Mayfield broke the league rookie record for touchdown passes.
Mayfield and Ryan jabbed at each other through the media several times during the season, and on Friday they shared the stage — and a handshake — while appearing on ESPN’s “Get Up.”
Mayfield acknowledged he paid too much attention to Ryan and other detractors.
“It comes back on doing my job the best I can, not worrying about the outside stuff, not replying to you,” Mayfield told Ryan. “Just doing my job and doing what really matters being a quarterback.”
Although he had wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry to throw to, Mayfield never got comfortable with them and his statistics plummeted in 2019. Mayfield threw 22 TD passes and 21 interception (he had 27 and 14, respectively, as a rookie) and his 78.8 passer rating was the league’s second worst.
But Mayfield had other issues, including a sometimes contentious relationship with reporters, and he often let his emotions get the best of him. The 24-year-old believes he’ll learn from his mistakes.
“It’s a humbling experience,” Mayfield said. “It’s a different ballgame. I mean, let’s just be honest, I put my foot in my mouth a lot this past year. And I’m going to internalize that, and I think that’s the way I need to handle it. I mean, rest in peace, Kobe (Bryant), but that’s the way he did it.
“He motivated himself. He didn’t talk a lot. He talked to his teammates, drove them to be better people, better men, and so that’s the way I need to handle it. I don’t need to respond to the things that don’t matter, things that don’t help us win.”
Mayfield accepted his share of the burden for Cleveland’s down season, which began with playoff expectations following a 7-8-1 record in 2018 and Beckham’s arrival via trade.
“None of the stuff that happens the year prior carries over,” he said. “It comes down to me doing my job. I’ve never turned the ball over so many times. That might have been the most combined over my whole career, and you can’t win like that. So that falls back on me. I’ll take all the blame for that.”