Baker Mayfield quietly growing as a leader

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Baker Mayfield quickly became one of the most recognizable quarterbacks in football for his brash, swaggering braggadocio. From planting the flag in The Horseshoe while a conquering hero and Heisman Trophy winner at Oklahoma to mocking former Browns coach Hue Jackson, while making several (admittedly fantastic) commercials and Fortnite dances on the side, Mayfield proved he liked to be seen and heard as much as possible.” data-reactid=”13″>Baker Mayfield quickly became one of the most recognizable quarterbacks in football for his brash, swaggering braggadocio. From planting the flag in The Horseshoe while a conquering hero and Heisman Trophy winner at Oklahoma to mocking former Browns coach Hue Jackson, while making several (admittedly fantastic) commercials and Fortnite dances on the side, Mayfield proved he liked to be seen and heard as much as possible.

Now entering his third season in the NFL, the Browns quarterback is quietly acknowledging that maybe scaling it back is the best course. A reflective, matured Mayfield explained how he’s changed as a leader in his Zoom teleconference with reporters following Sunday’s Browns practice at FirstEnergy Stadium.

“I wouldn’t say it’s anything on the field,” Mayfield said carefully. “I would say it’s within our locker room, getting around the guys and realizing that I have to do much more than just let my play on the field [speak for itself] to be the quarterback for this team.”

He’s learning how to read the room, and it’s a different locker room than the one he joined in Cleveland in 2018. Mayfield senses the change in what a more veteran-laden unit needs from him to succeed.

“I have to put my arm around these guys, lead them and show them the way, and especially in these uncertain times, if the schedule changes and all that, to never waver, never falter. Just showing those guys that I can be the leader, no matter what,” Mayfield continued.

Mayfield’s newfound philosophy is almost certainly a reflection on the more subdued and professional demeanor of head coach Kevin Stefanski. While he will be firm and get into players, Stefanski is less excitable and more measured in practices.

Former coach Freddie Kitchens encouraged the antics, while Jackson didn’t really do much of anything as the head coach. Those approaches worked some for Mayfield, but the QB is smart to embrace trying things more in Stefanski’s way than the mixed bag he’s produced in his first two seasons.

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