CLEVELAND, Ohio — It’s Christmas week and the Browns are still very much in the playoff mix, which is a good gift for Browns fans.
I’m in a gift-giving mood here with This Week in the Cleveland Browns. So this week, instead of the Browns giving their fans the gift of being in a playoff push, we’re going to give them gifts.
Some of these are serious gifts. Others are more fun gifts.
It’s time to play Santa and hand out five presents to the Browns.
Baker Mayfield: A pop culture quotebook
Prior to Monday night’s game vs. the Ravens, we learned that Mayfield’s pop culture quotes in postgame press conferences following wins aren’t just spontaneous. It’s a mandate from his quarterback room.
Mayfield has dished out quotes from DMX to Dwight Schrute in recent victories. But what if he can’t think of one or doesn’t have one prepared?
To avoid paying a fine to his fellow QBs, we’re giving him a book of other legendary quotes from pop culture to study in his off time. Quarterbacks need to be prepared. So consider this another tool to help with that preparation.
The secondary: A clean bill of health
The Browns have had to deal with their fair share of injuries this fall. But no group has been devastated more than the secondary.
Grant Delpit and Greedy Williams haven’t played a down this season. Ronnie Harrison might not play until the playoffs. Denzel Ward missed three straight games before coming back on Sunday night.
So for Christmas, the gift to the secondary is that they get healthy and in the case of Delpit, a full recovery from his torn Achilles so he has a chance to show why he was a second-round pick in this past draft.
Nick Chubb: A role in a Baker Mayfield commercial
We know how quiet Chubb is. He just goes about his business and doesn’t really say anything at all.
Maybe hidden in that quiet nature is a comedic personality just waiting to come out. Plus, we’ve seen Baker Mayfield have a teammate in his Progressive commercials with multiple appearances from Jedrick Wills Jr.
It seems like it’s time for Chubb to make an appearance on a commercial.
Rashard Higgins: A red carpet runner
After getting very few opportunities last season, Higgins has had a chance to walk the metaphorical red carpet with four touchdowns this year.
So we’re going to make the imaginary become real. He’s getting a red carpet runner of his own.
To be fair, we don’t know for sure if he has one. But it’s best not to take a chance here.
Jimmy and Dee Haslam: The gift of validation
It’s been an extremely rocky ownership period for Haslam. But maybe, just maybe, they got things right.
Kevin Stefanski is in the mix for Coach of the Year, and Andrew Berry’s first draft class has played very well. They’ve gotten it wrong for years. But so far, the signs are good that they’ve got this turned around.
Add in the fact that the Columbus Crew, who are also co-owned by the Haslams, just won the franchise’s second MLS Cup earlier this month, and it’s been a good year for the Haslams. They’ve earned some validation this year for their decisions.
The question is whether it can last multiple years and be a sustainable group that leads to the Haslams claiming a championship with two different franchises.
Myles Garrett still battling COVID effects — Myles Garrett has now played three games since his bout with COVID-19. But he’s still dealing with the lingering effects of the virus weeks after returning to the field. He was coughing during his postgame interview and admitted he was still battling those effects during Sunday night’s game, adding a tweet that said “F*** Covid.”
Kevin Stefanski, Browns rave about Mayfield’s hot streak — Baker Mayfield was impressive once again on Sunday night, setting the team record for completion percentage in a game at 84.4 percent. He finished with 297 yards and two touchdowns, just coming a couple yards short of a third-straight 300-yard game. Kevin Stefanski and other Browns spoke highly of Mayfield’s strong play, including Garrett, who said Mayfield is “playing with his hair on fire.”
Methodical win shows Browns ready for January — Sunday’s win was by no means a flashy one, and not nearly as exciting as most of their wins this season have been. But that’s not a bad thing. It was a business-like game for the Browns as they just played efficient football against a team they were better than, writes Dan Labbe.
Jarvis Landry apologizes for flag he wasn’t sure he deserved — Jarvis Landry was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct after catching a two-yard touchdown pass from Mayfield in the second quarter. The 15-yard penalty led to Cody Parkey hitting the upright on a 48-yard extra point. Landry said he didn’t feel like he should’ve been penalized but apologized for it.
More about the Browns
Drew Stanton explains what went wrong in 2019 — Baker Mayfield’s turnaround this year comes after he took a massive step back in his second season under head coach Freddie Kitchens. Drew Stanton was there and detailed what went wrong with Mary Kay Cabot as Kitchens called the plays for the Giants on Sunday night.
Jarvis Landry “wasn’t opposed” to Kitchens’ firing — The Browns won their 10th game of the season defeating their old head coach, who was calling the plays on the other sideline. When asked about what he thought about Kitchens being a one-year coach in Cleveland, Jarvis Landry didn’t show much support for him. “I was not opposed to it,’’ Landry said. “I can only do my job and trust that the staff and the organization are going to be able to put somebody in place, whether that continued to be Freddie or Coach Kevin (Stefanski) as it is now obviously, to make sure that we can get on the right track and be a winning football team.”
Why Donovan Peoples-Jones should inspire confidence in coaches — The Browns used a sixth-round pick as a flier on Donovan Peoples-Jones, a former five-star prospect who was underwhelming at Michigan. But in Cleveland, he has become a big-play player, especially in the last few weeks. Dan Labbe wrote about why Peoples-Jones’ development is a good sign for how the Browns’ coaching staff has done.
Check out our postgame podcast here.
Listen to our Wednesday episode as Doug Lesmerises joined Dan and Mary Kay to talk about the defensive problems the Browns have and who is to blame.
Make sure to listen to Friday’s Gotta Watch the Tape podcast as Ellis Williams, Scott Patsko and Doug talked about the progressions of both Baker Mayfield and Jedrick Wills.
More Browns coverage