Browns Notes: Todd Monken says Baker Mayfield not to blame for late game woes

JC Tretter and Chris Hubbard return to practice, Spiderman loves the Browns

Daryl Ruiter
December 05, 2019 - 12:43 pm

BEREA, Ohio (92.3 The Fan) – The great quarterbacks are clutch in the clutch.

Baker Mayfield hasn’t been that this season, but offensive coordinator Todd Monken believes Mayfield shouldn’t bear the brunt of the blame for it.

 “Any statistical evidence you have of any area you want to look at has its holes,” Monken said. “Obviously we’ve got to do it collectively as a group better, but I think he’s a tremendous, tremendous football player, competitor, smart, tough, has a rare competitive quality and rare want to be great.

“There’s been some moments where we haven’t played as well around him, we’ve gotten behind a little bit, and he’s competitive.”

This season Mayfield has had five opportunities to tie or win games in the closing minutes. He’s converted just once – a touchdown pass to Rashard Higgins with just under 2-minutes to play of a 19-16 win over the Bills.

According to Pro Football Reference, Mayfield has completed 49 of 91 passes or 53.85% with three touchdowns and seven interceptions in the fourth quarter this season.

In crunch time – the final four minutes of games when tied or trailing – Mayfield has completed 11 of 27 passes or 40.74% with a touchdown and four interceptions according to the website.

The numbers are alarming, but not to Monken.

“But he isn’t a guy, over his career, I’ll be stunned if he’s a guy that turns the ball over a lot,” Monken said. “He doesn’t have that in him. He does not. He’s not careless with the football. If you look at … one of his interceptions is a shovel pass at New England, for God’s sakes. That’s not his fault, it’s our fault, my fault for the way we designed it and the way it turned out. Sure, there’s other ones, but in my mind, we’ve got the right guy going forward.”

Mayfield has finally raised his completion percentage to 60.0% but has 15 touchdowns and 14 interceptions overall, a far cry from his rookie year that saw him set an NFL rookie record with 26 touchdown passes in just 13 starts.

Cleveland’s offense enters this week ranked 18th overall, tied for 10th in rushing and 17th in passing and 21st in scoring averaging 20.5 points per game.

“It’s just we’ve got to do it better … that’s a fact … collectively,” Monken said. “And when we do that, then we’ll continue to see our growth and consistency.

“That’s what you’re looking for, the consistency against the best in the world. That’s what it comes down to, everybody doing their job consistently so you’re not choppy. That’s been the big issue. When we’ve stopped moving, it’s because we’ve been inconsistent, we’ve been choppy in terms of everybody taking their turns.”

The limited – Center JC Tretter and right tackle Chris Hubbard returned to practice and were limited Thursday.

Tretter and Hubbard sat Wednesday’s practice out with knee injuries.

“I think I will be alright,” Tretter said. “I think not similar to last year, but whenever bumps and dings happen, you meet with training staff and you set a plan and stick to that plan of making sure you get right by Sunday. I think we have a good plan again, give it some rest, make sure I do what I need to do during the week of practice and then be ready to go on Sunday.”

Spidey sense – Actor Tom Holland, who plays Marvel’s Spiderman, is now a Browns fan.

Holland was a guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live Wednesday night when he made the revelation and explained how it came to be.

Funny guy – Although his first season as head coach hasn’t gone as well as many would like, head coach Freddie Kitchens hasn’t lost his sense of humor.

Kitchens offered this response when asked if he ever wore a flak jacket as a quarterback.

“I did not. I looked big enough,” Kitchens said. “I was not as big as I am now. You still are on me about that, aren’t you? That laugh you busted out last week, yeah. See if you get anything for Christmas.”

Season of giving – The Browns and local Marines will host their annual ‘Browns Give Back First and Ten Toy Drive,’ to benefit Toys for Tots at FirstEnergy Stadium before Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Fans are encouraged to bring new unwrapped gifts for children in need. Volunteers will collect items and monetary contributions at the gates beginning at 11 a.m.

Injury report – DNP: CB Robert Jackson (ankle)

Limited: WR Odell Beckham Jr. (groin), WR Jarvis Landry (hip), RT Chris Hubbard (knee), C JC Tretter (knee), TE Stephen Carlson (ankle), TE Demetrius Harris (shoulder), WR KhaDarel Hodge (Achilles), S Eric Murray, DE Olivier Vernon (knee), CB Greedy Williams (shoulder)

Full: QB Baker Mayfeld (right hand/ribs), RB Dontrell Hilliard (knee), LT Greg Robinson (concussion), DE Chad Thomas (chest/ribs), LB Mack Wilson (chest/ribs), RG Wyatt Teller