Editor's note: Tony Grossi covers the Cleveland Browns for 850 ESPN Cleveland.
Takeaways from Browns practice and interviews …
1. Open season: Three games into his second season, Baker Mayfield is getting chipped routinely by national analysts after the Browns fell to 1-2 by failing to punch it in against the Rams on four plays from the 4-yard line.
On Monday, former NFL coach Rex Ryan said on ESPN that Mayfield is “over-rated as hell” and called him a “one-read quarterback” who makes one read of the defense and then moves out of the pocket to improvise.
Which brought the following frosty response from coach Freddie Kitchens:
“I appreciate his opinion and all that, but he’s not in our building and he has no idea what we’re doing.”
“Is he a one-read quarterback? No, he’s not. That’s asinine to even say.”
Mayfield chuckled when Ryan’s comments were brought up, and then issued this zinger:
“In the wise words of Freddie Kitchens, if you don’t wear orange and brown, you don’t matter. And Rex Ryan doesn’t have any colors right now for a reason.”
2. Inside the Mayfield mind: The Browns talk about “shutting out the noise,” but Mayfield acknowledged it’s not an easy thing to do because the noise can be loud and be everywhere.
“I think it’s something that you really need to be conscious of,” he said. “Because you’re surrounded in an environment where you hear a lot of things. Stuff pops up on your phone, stuff’s on the TV. You know, people talk. You have to make a conscious decision to protect your locker room, take care of your guys and block out the negative stuff.
“And when they’re patting you on the back, to me, that’s even worse.”
He won’t have to worry about positive noise for the time being.
3. Fourth-and-9: The head-scratching draw play to Nick Chubb on fourth-and-9 in the fourth quarter of the Rams game remains a sore point among fans. There is no more clarity about the method to that play-call madness.
Mayfield said, “Just trusting our guys to make a play.”
Chubb said, “I didn’t know what to expect.”
Left guard Joel Bitonio shot down the theory that there was confusion about whether it was third or fourth down.
“No, I don’t think so because we all looked to the sideline and we saw the punt team kind of waiting there and then you knew they weren’t going on and we were going for it,” he said.
4. That was then: In March, Ravens coach John Harbaugh needled the Browns when he said they had the most talent in the AFC North division. The comment, made after the trade for receiver Odell Beckham Jr., sounded like a set-up coming from the coach of the defending division champions.
Harbaugh attempted to walk back on the comment on Wednesday’s conference call.
“To me, that was an offseason question,” he said. “I think at the time, they did have the most talent in the division. It was meant to be a compliment to the Browns organization and the job they have done. They are very talented. They have a lot of really good young players. They have a lot of good players and a lot of good coaches.
“That is where they were at. Now, we are playing the season and all of that stuff gets determined during the season. It is part of it now, but it is not really a time to rank that.”
5. Brownie bits: Tight end David Njoku has opted not to have surgery at this time on what has been reported as a broken right wrist. Meanwhile, a decision has not been made on possible surgery for linebacker Christian Kirksey, who suffered a torn pectoral muscle, per reports. Both players are on injured reserve and wouldn’t be available until Game 11 vs. the Miami Dolphins, at the earliest …
Safety Damarious Randall was cleared to practice after spending 12 days in concussion protocol. Randall entered protocol on the Friday before the Jets game. He didn’t provide any details on when he might have suffered a concussion or even what were the symptoms that landed him in protocol. “Um … I was placed in concussion protocol and just followed procedure,” Randall said ...
Seven Browns were held out of practice -- safety Morgan Burnett (quad), right tackle Chris Hubbard (foot), tackle Kendall Lamm (knee), cornerback Denzel Ward (hamstring), cornerback Greedy Williams (hamstring), safety Sheldrick Redwine (hamstring) and defensive tackle Devaroe Lawrence (non-injury related).