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Gregg Williams ‘loves’ Baker Mayfield’s moxie, believes he is locker-room leader for Browns

Interim coach Gregg Williams ‘loves’ Baker Mayfield’s moxie and believes he is a locker-room leader for the Cleveland Browns.
Credit: Isaiah J. Downing
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) celebrates with wide receiver Breshad Perriman (19) and running back Duke Johnson Jr. (29) after a touchdown in the first quarter against the Denver Broncos at Broncos Stadium at Mile High in Denver.

CLEVELAND — Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield is not afraid to speak his mind, and he let it be known Wednesday that if individual players are more concerned about personal achievements than victories, they need not remain in the locker room.

Never one to hold back on his opinions, interim coach Gregg Williams, who has more than 30 years’ experience in the coaching profession, loves seeing that kind of fire out of Mayfield, whom the Browns selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

“I love it,” Williams said following Thursday’s practice. “I will back that up every, single week. You do not want to be around guys that want to be in a club or want to be a part of something unless it is winning.

“That is why he has the locker room. In practice, there could be a bad play or two, and then, all of a sudden, bam, he circles the wagons. Joe Schobert does the same thing, too. Myles (Garrett) did it a couple of times today. That is what you need inside of the white lines.”

Credit: Ken Blaze
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) throws a pass during the first quarter against the Carolina Panthers at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio.

In fact, Williams believes Mayfield is at the forefront of a youth movement in the franchise, and instead of just saying they wanted to be a part of the resurgence of the Browns organization, the rookies and young veterans are making it happen.

Time and again, the 2018 Browns have proven that the words “same old” no longer apply, and the players added another broken streak to the list of reasons why this team is different, as last Saturday, they snapped an 11-game skid against the Denver Broncos that dated back to December 8, 1991.

In addition to the 17-16 road win over the Broncos, the Browns have broken a 17-game losing slide, a 19-game winless skid and NFL-record 25 consecutive road setbacks in 2018. Also, the Browns have broken streaks for the most consecutive Sunday losses (36) and an 18-game winless run within the AFC North Division.

“I think the core of guys is very good in there,” Williams said. “I really do. I believe in that. We talked a couple of days ago also about the word belief. I believe with all of my heart that culture beats strategy any day of the week.

“When you have that, that is the way it is supposed to be. Then, we can start to do things in a way schematically that fits the athletic ability of the guys you have around, but you have to have the right culture.”

Credit: Isaiah J. Downing
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) motions behind offensive lineman JC Tretter (64) in the second quarter against the Denver Broncos at Broncos Stadium at Mile High in Denver.

After been swept by the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens in each of the last two years, the Browns have the opportunity to sweep both the Bengals and the Ravens over the final two weeks of the year.

“Every time that you play a division game, it is important,” Williams said. “You see how you measure up. You want to win your division. When you win your division, that is what always put you in the hunt at the end of the year. We state the fact that it counts for two.

“We have improved in that area. That is the message that we wanted to do, but we have to continue to do it. You can’t rest on our laurels. Every, single time, you have to get ready to go because it is going to be a hard-fought game. We may know more about them; they may know more about us, too. It becomes a battle of wills that way.”