Browns Notes: Baker Mayfield taking too many hits

Freddie Kitchens says he has to put his QB in better situations

Daryl Ruiter
September 17, 2019 - 3:39 pm

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Berea, Ohio (92.3 The Fan) – Baker Mayfield has been sacked eight times and hit on 13 other occasions through the first two games of the season and head coach Freddie Kitchens is starting to get concerned.

“I have to do a better job of getting the ball out of Baker’s hands quicker,” Kitchens said via conference call Tuesday, a day after the Browns downed the Jets 23-3.  

“We need to get the ball out of his hands quicker. He is taking too many hits. I do not like my quarterback to take hits. I need to get the ball out of his hands quicker.” 

Mayfield completed 19-of-35 passes for 325 yards, a touchdown and an interception in Monday night’s win.

Kitchens acknowledged Mayfield didn’t have the pinpoint accuracy we saw at the end of last season against the Jets.

“He just missed some of the throws. Some of the angles were off,” Kitchens said. “Just overall, just missing throws. He is not going to make every throw. I have to do a better job of creating better throws for him.”

Late in the fourth quarter, Mayfield took a sack on a third-and-8 that saw him dropped for an 8-yard loss by a pair of Jets defenders. Kitchens would’ve liked to see Mayfield protect himself in that situation.

“In that situation, you are either going to hand the ball off and get hit in the backfield three or four yards or you take advantage of what they are giving you,” Kitchens said. “When they cover it, you just protect yourself. I do not need him out there taking unnecessary shots.”

Statistically and on the scoreboard, Mayfield passed the test, but the eye test tells a different story.

“The quarterbacks’ job is to win the game, and that is what he did [Monday] night,” Kitchens said. “I will reiterate, I need to put him in better situations, too.”

2 for now – Kitchens doesn’t seem inclined to add a third quarterback after backup Drew Stanton was placed on injured reserve Monday.

“Not right now, no,” Kitchens said.

Kitchens is confident Garrett Gilbert will be able to handle backup duties while Stanton will continue to work with Mayfield behind the scenes until his injured knee heals.

“It is an ongoing thing with his knee that he has been monitoring,” Kitchens said. “The best course of action right now is to kind of give him a break and see if we can get it better in that instance with the possibility of coming back down the road.”

During training camp Kitchens mentioned his preference to have three quarterbacks on the roster, but circumstances have changed.

“It is always risky having two, but there are a lot of things that have to happen,” Kitchens said. “You have to look at your team. Having a third quarterback is not the most pressing decision a lot of times. You have other things you have to cover up for in other areas. That is just where our emphasis is right now.”

Next test – The Browns have not looked like one of the NFL’s elites through two games – they’re a work in progress – but they’ll face one Sunday night when the defending NFC champion and 2-0 Rams roll into town.

“It is a great challenge for is,” Kitchens said. “Our guys will do a good job preparing this week, and we will go out and give it our best shot on Sunday. They are a very good team. We are going to show up on Sunday and see where we are.”

Injury updates – Kitchens is awaiting “final word” on tight end David Njoku, who was evaluated for a concussion after being upended and landing on his head in the first quarter Monday night.

Running back Nick Chubb, who got popped hard late in the fourth quarter, is fine and simply “got the breath knocked out of him. He is good.”

Kitchens did not have any updates on receiver Rashard Higgins, running back Dontrell Hilliard or safety Damarious Randall.

“Those are all kind of day-by-day things,” Kitchens said. “I could give you an answer today and it would be different tomorrow so I would just take that day by day right now.”