Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield isn’t happy after a rough start to the season.
He made that abundantly clear — if it wasn’t already — on Wednesday when he became upset at a reporter’s question and stormed out of a media session.
While Mayfield will shoulder much of the blame in Cleveland after their 2-5 start, Odell Beckham Jr. isn’t going to just sit on the sidelines and watch his quarterback take the heat that’s coming his way.
“[We] can’t sit back and be like, ‘It’s Baker’s fault.’ I feel like that’s the easiest thing for us to do,” Beckham said Thursday, via ESPN. “I’ve been in situations where one person is getting the blame, and the rest of the people are quiet to kind of stay out of the fire.
“I’m going to jump in the fire with him. I’ll be the first one. Some of these losses are on me. I need to be in the right place at the right time. I’m going to do better. And that’s what I plan to do for the rest of the season.”
“Nobody likes to feel like you’re being poked or prodded at”
To be fair, it’s easy to see where the criticism directed at Mayfield is coming from.
Mayfield has thrown 12 interceptions already this season — tied for the most in the NFL with Jameis Winston — in just seven games, a number that’s just two shy of his interception total in his rookie campaign last year. His quarterback rating, at 67.8, is among the worst in the league, and he’s completed just 57.6 percent of his passes.
Most importantly, the Browns are losing. They’ve now dropped three straight — including an ugly 31-3 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in Week 5, where Mayfield went just 8-of-22 for 100 yards and threw two interceptions.
With Mayfield’s frustrations boiling over on Wednesday, Beckham said he understands perfectly where that’s coming from — especially given Mayfield’s personality. If they were winning, he said, this wouldn’t even be an issue at all.
“Nobody likes to feel like you’re being poked or prodded at, especially not a guy like that,” Beckham said, via ESPN. “I’ve been through that journey already. I’ve been through this fire. That’s a part of me that’s able to help him in a way. This is a kid who cares about football, cares about winning. Whatever people make him out to be just because of his personality — if we were winning and he was still doing it, we’d all be here laughing. Because we’re losing, we want to kind of poke at him a little.
“I’m going to be the first one here to defend him every single time. I’ve always got his back. I know what it’s like. I’ve been there … I understand how we’re looking for the negative. But he wants to win. He’s upset he’s not winning, or he hasn’t done to the best of his ability, that’s upsetting. Just upsetting. We want to be great.”
Both Beckham and Mayfield still sounded confident that they could turn the season around, however — starting on Sunday with a critical matchup with the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field.
Yet the longer they wait to kick it into gear, Beckham said, the harder that will be.
“The more games we have together, the better we’ll be, but it’s time for us to turn it on,” Beckham said, via ESPN. “You have a highly regarded quarterback [who] I think is a phenomenal player, and I just want to be able to help him in every which way I can.
“I have no doubt in my mind that at some point in time it’s going to be everything that we all talked about.”
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