Heading toward Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens, Mayfield emphasized repeatedly in his weekly media session that for the Browns to get past their win-loss troubles, they have to be better at the details.
The quarterback's success at Oklahoma that led to him being the 2018 draft’s first overall pick was about details, he said.
“The reason we were able to go fast is because everybody knew exactly what they’re supposed to do,” he said Wednesday. “When you do that, when you get a team on the same page, it gets dangerous. On top of that, when you fine-tune the details, everybody realizes what we’re trying to get accomplished, where the ball needs to go.
“A receiver, even if he might not be getting the ball, might run his route in a way to get somebody else open. It’s stuff like that we need to get accomplished.”
Mayfield even drilled home the point that he said a receiver playing on short grass like Oakland’s has to make sure his shoulders are over his feet as he cuts.
“We have to be fundamentally sound,” he said. “We have all the talent. We just have to make sure we’re doing our job.”
Mayfield said the “little details” cost the Browns on early downs in overtime, when they failed to get a first down after starting a drive at their 40. (In two overtime games this season, Tyrod Taylor failed to get a first down three times against Pittsburgh, Mayfield once against Oakland.)
“We got to have everybody on the same page,” Mayfield said. “I keep saying that. We have to have the right routes. I have to have my eyes in the right spot.”
At this early point in his growth and career, every game is a learning experience for Mayfield. He was not afraid to be accountable as he evaluated Oakland, where he guided the Browns (1-2-1) to 42 points despite having four turnovers.
He blamed himself for the interception with seven seconds left when a field goal would have won the game. Mayfield said there were folks open for shorter gains that could have given kicker Greg Joseph a chance, and he should have gone through his reads rather than focusing on the deep throw the playcall emphasized.
“You can never let the game and your emotions get the best of you,” he said. “You have to do the fundamentals.”
In the third quarter with the Browns up 14, offensive coordinator Todd Haley called a pass from the 11. Mayfield was sacked, fumbled and the Raiders recovered.
“I have to get the ball out quicker,” he said, “but we’re not gonna block everybody every play.”
On the positive side, the 49-yard touchdown throw to Darren Fells was a thing of beauty, 25 yards on a line right into Fells’ hands.
“That’ the kind of [play] I’m expecting to make,” he said. “A guy that’s running down the field, he’s a big guy, he’s in front of a safety. Put it in his range and he’s got to make a play, and he did.”
Clearly, Mayfield can throw. He has a strong arm, is accurate -- Jackson said the Browns had nine drops -- and the ball has zip. Even with that, he throws a very catchable ball, an underrated trait. He said he believes the Browns are “very, very close to being a great team.”
Mayfield next faces a Ravens team that has outscored opponents by 58 and is in the top four in several major defensive categories: second overall, fourth in rushing, fourth in passing and tied for third in scoring. Mayfield praised the Ravens but wasn’t shying away from supporting his teammates either.
“If we do our job, we see our keys,” he said, “they can’t throw anything [at us] that we haven’t seen. We just have to be prepared and just do our job.”