Wednesday's NFL: Mayfield draws praise for work ethic

Associated Press
As Baker Mayfield prepares to make his first pro start in a few days at Oakland, his confidence isn’t the only thing impressing teammates.

Berea, Ohio — Baker Mayfield dragged more than a Heisman with him into the NFL. There was other baggage, including a well-earned reputation as being cocky, fiery, brash and over-the-top.

He hasn’t changed much.

And that’s what the Browns love about their rookie starting quarterback, who didn’t need long to firmly plant his own flag in Cleveland.

“He walk it,” receiver Jarvis Landry said, “like he talk it.”

As Mayfield prepares to make his first pro start in a few days at Oakland, his confidence isn’t the only thing impressing teammates eager to see if the No. 1 pick can build upon his sensational debut last week against the New York Jets — a stunning performance that prompted coach Hue Jackson to switch quarterbacks.

While he is on the verge of his first visit to play in front of the Raiders’ notoriously rowdy “Black Hole,” Mayfield is showing no fear or signs of complacency.

Mayfield, 23, did not speak to reporters Wednesday and the only time he was seen in Cleveland’s locker room was to grab the playbook out of his locker.

“He’s been real focused,” said left guard Joel Bitonio, a team captain. “He’s taken the lead in a few meetings just because that’s what the starting quarterback does.”

Before he was drafted, Mayfield drew comparisons to Johnny Manziel, another Heisman winner who busted for the Browns. The Mayfield-Manziel similarities seem to start and stop at their height.

“You hear people say, ‘Oh, he’s Johnny or he’s this or he’s that,’ but since I’ve known him he’s been a great guy,” Bitonio said. “He’s been in the building. He’s a confident guy. I think people see that as a little bit of cockiness, but he’s just confident in what he does and he understands you put in the work and he’s ready to compete and he’s ready to play.

“And that’s all you want in a quarterback.”

Bowles lashes out

Jets coach Todd Bowles vehemently denies a published report that says he is stripping defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers of some play-calling duties.

Bowles says Wednesday the story by the New York Daily News was “100-percent false,” adding that it’s “completely a lie.”

The newspaper reported Bowles, according to sources, would call the defensive plays when the Jets face two-minute and hurry-up situations. The normally stoic coach sternly says he’s not sure where that came from and added that Rodgers will continue in his current duties.

Extra points

The Patriots placed running back Rex Burkhead on injured reserve, three days after he left the game against the Lions because of a neck injury. The Patriots also placed linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley on IR. Running back Kenjon Barner and defensive end John Simon were signed to fill their spots on the roster.

... The Packers signed defensive back Bashaud Breeland, adding a veteran to take Davon House’s place after the cornerback was placed on IR with a shoulder injury.

... Bills running back LeSean McCoy vows he’s playing at Green Bay on Sunday after missing one game because of a rib cartilage injury.

... The Rams placed cornerback Aqib Talib (ankle surgery) on IR.

... Texans safety Andre Hal’s Hodgkin lymphoma is in remission.