Don Wright/Associated Press
Baker Mayfield does not seem like he’s going to miss Hue Jackson.
“Bring it on,” Mayfield told reporters of assuming an increased leadership role following Jackson’s dismissal.
“With all the distractions, we will see what kind of men we have in this room—not what kind of team that we have but what kind of men can handle a distraction the right way—can come together and focus on doing their job and doing it at a high level against a great team (the Kansas City Chiefs) come Sunday,” Mayfield continued.
The Browns fired Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley on Monday amid internal discord and a 2-5-1 start.
Gregg Williams has been named interim head coach, and Freddie Kitchens will serve as his offensive coordinator. Mayfield threw for 1,471 yards and eight touchdowns against six interceptions through his first six games (five as a starter).
“For me, it is definitely something new,” Mayfield said. “It caught me off guard, but [we] have to roll with the punches. Whatever happens, happens. We have to stick together as a team. We have to use this as something to make us come together. Obviously, it could be a huge distraction or it could be something that could bring this locker room even closer.”
The Browns have little time to adjust. They host the Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons over the next two weeks before going on a bye.
Kitchens has never been an offensive coordinator at the pro level. He was the Arizona Cardinals quarterbacks coach from 2013-2016, a time period in which Carson Palmer had a career renaissance after coming over from the Oakland Raiders in a 2013 trade.
Odds are, however, Mayfield will be playing for his third offensive coordinator and third head coach by the time next season opens. This is his team, and it’s promising that he acknowledged the responsibility.