BEREA, Ohio (AP)Baker Mayfield will have extra time to prepare for the unbeaten Patriots. He needs it.
Cleveland’s quarterback was limited during Tuesday’s practice with a hip injury sustained on a scramble in the second half on Sunday against Seattle. Mayfield was hurt when he made a spin move and got hit in the third quarter.
Mayfield left the field briefly to get treatment and tests in the locker room but returned and didn’t miss a play in the 32-28 loss.
The Browns have a bye this week, giving Mayfield a chance to recover completely before Cleveland (2-4) visits New England (6-0) on Oct. 27.
”We’ve got 10 games left, so we’ve got to get him ready to play 10 games,” coach Freddie Kitchens said following the workout. ”He’s going to be physically in better shape going into New England, and he’ll be in a better place mentally, too.”
Kitchens said ”no doubt” when asked if Mayfield will be ready for Cleveland’s next game.
Mayfield doubled over in pain after making several throws against the Seahawks. Running back Nick Chubb knew his teammate was hurting and admired how the QB stuck it out and stayed in the game.
”It means a lot. It shows his team that no matter what, he’s going to go out there for his teammates,” Chubb said. ”I respect him a lot. I could tell he was in pain and he pushed through it for us. You can say what you want, but Baker, when he went down, I was thinking, `Man, I don’t know what’s going to happen next.’ He’s a crucial part of this team.”
Guard Joel Bitonio also praised Mayfield for finishing.
”He is tough,” Bitonio said. ”He does not want to come out of the game, and that is a credit to him as a player, as a person and as a leader. It is just who he is, and you knew that before that. You do not need to see him toughing it out. Obviously, if you can’t do it, do not be out there, but he thought he could play, he was fighting through it and I give him all of the credit.
”He took a weird hit and just he keeps fighting for us. He has had some bad luck on some of the throws this year and stuff, but he keeps going out there and he keeps trying to will us to victory.”
Mayfield took part in pre-practice stretching with his teammates but moved slowly and didn’t extend his leg on all the exercises. When Cleveland’s other quarterbacks did passing drills, Mayfield stood to the side holding his helmet, mimicked being a defender or chatted with Kitchens.
His second season has been a struggle for the former No. 1 overall pick, who set an NFL rookie record by throwing 27 touchdown passes last season. Mayfield leads the NFL with 11 interceptions – the most in six games by a Browns quarterback since 1984 – and he has 25 in 19 career starts.
Not all the picks are his fault, but Mayfield’s accuracy has been a problem all season.
Quarterbacks coach Ryan Lindley said the bye week provides Mayfield and the coaching staff a chance to help him work on mechanics and other areas.
”You always want to work on your feet, you always want to work on your timing; I think it’s just details right now,” Lindley said. ”We need to hash some things out and make sure we’re in rhythm. If you want a buzzword, that’s probably it. We’re not all the way there.”
NOTES: WR Rashard Higgins felt he could have played in Cleveland’s past two games after recovering from a knee injury. He was inactive at San Francisco, dressed Sunday but never left the sideline. ”I guess that’s play calling,” said Higgins, who developed chemistry with Mayfield last season while catching 39 passes for 572 yards and four touchdowns. ”Honestly, I just didn’t get in, man. I don’t know why. I feel I could’ve made a difference.” … S Damarious Randall worked with trainers on the side during practice and starting LB Joe Schobert was excused for a personal reason.
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