CLEVELAND — Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield had a record-setting rookie season in 2018, but he is not the type of person to bask in the glory of past accomplishments, not when there is more for him to achieve at the NFL level.
Now in year two, Mayfield aims to have better command of the offense and being even more of a leader for the entire team.
“I think eliminating the rookie mistakes,” Mayfield said after Wednesday’s OTA practice at team headquarters in Berea. “I think the change within me is taking ownership of, ‘Alright, yeah, there’s some things that I haven’t seen before, some disguises, some game plans and different ways to study that I haven’t done before.’
“Taking a first time through that last year, but now, I need to take that next step. That is all behind me, move forward and get better.”
Not highly recruited out of high school, Mayfield went from a two-time walk-on at Texas Tech and Oklahoma to winning the 2017 Heisman Trophy and being the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Unlike previous quarterbacks, Mayfield lived up to the hype in a record-setting way.
Mayfield broke the NFL rookie record with his 27th touchdown throw of the season with 3:24 remaining in the fourth quarter of a 26-24 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in an AFC North Division clash at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on December 30.
After taking over the first-team offense in the second quarter of a Week 3 win over the New York Jets, Mayfield completed 310 of his 486 attempts (63.8 percent) for 3,725 yards and 27 touchdowns against 14 interceptions.
Under the direction of new Browns coach Freddie Kitchens, the interim offensive coordinator for the second half of the 2018 season, Mayfield completed 180 of his 263 attempts (68.4 percent) for 2,254 yards and 19 touchdowns against eight interceptions.
“It is understanding of protections and coverages,” Kitchens said of development from Mayfield in year two. “It is a continuous process with the quarterbacks. Baker is no different. There are going to be things that he wants to get better at 15 years from now, and he is going to retire one day and still wish he had gotten better at something. It is a never-ending process, and he is going to continue to get better.
“I want him to keep being himself.”
By taking more ownership of the team and offensive scheme, Mayfield aims to make the most of the talented athletes around him.
“It is kind of pick your poison now,” Mayfield said. “We have some pretty good talent all around -- tight ends, running backs, receivers, and then, going in with the same offensive line. We have a good team. Now, it is ‘What are we going to do with it?’
“We don’t know what the end product is looking like. That is why we are doing stuff right now to try and find our identity and try to find out what we are going to be like, who we are going to be as a team. That is the great part about it.
“We don’t have to know right now. We don’t have to know who exactly is going to be playing, who is going to be making the certain plays, what routes they are going to be best at. That is what we are trying to find out right now.”