Saturday, August 6, 2022

Former Browns head coach defends Baker Mayfield after trade

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Freddie Kitchens and Baker Mayfield had a complicated relationship during their brief stint with the Cleveland Browns, but the former head coach had nothing but good things to say about his former QB after a recent move saw him join the Carolina Panthers.

Kitchens is now a senior analyst for South Carolina in the college’s ranks but resigned
SiriusXM NFL Radio to talk about Mayfield and his recent move to Carolina. While the Browns finished 6-10 under Kitchens and the offense slumped, Kitchens defended Mayfield and what he brings to the table.

“I look forward to him coming to Carolina and seeing what he can do. I think things are looking good for Baker.” said kitchensand adds that he believes the torn labrum greatly affected Mayfield’s game last season.

Kitchens also had something to say about Mayfield’s fiery personality, which has been a topic of discussion since his departure from the Browns.

“I think you’ll be one of five things in the world. You will be bad or average. I don’t think anyone in the National Football League is bad. You can be good or great, and that’s what God gave you. You want to be elite, and the difference between good, great and elite is the passion you bring to the game,” Kitchens said. “Saying that, I’d say that’s a trait he has, not a downside.”

Drafted by the Browns with the top overall pick in 2018, Mayfield helped turn the franchise around after just one win in the last two seasons. However, there was never a sense of stability for Mayfield, who played for four different head coaches in his first three seasons and learned new playbooks nearly every year.

While he helped lead the team into the postseason and their first playoff win in over two decades, Mayfield still had tough times, especially last year when he was pushing. through the torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder. With the move to Carolina, Mayfield can put all of that behind and start fresh for a year that will define his NFL future.

“I’m really looking forward to this fresh start in Charlotte,” Mayfield said during his opening press conference on Tuesday. “Of course, I think it’s kind of familiar now, some familiar faces are there, some people I know and there’s a lot more to meet. It’s just an exciting time for me and my family and just this new chapter. No animosity towards Cleveland. It’s a good football city that gave me the first four years of my career and I’m grateful for these trials and tribulations, all the challenges, to learn a lot and to look back and reflect. I’ve just really focused on being a Carolina Panther and I’m pumped for it.

Mayfield will have a shot at being the starter at Carolina, although there’s no guarantee he’ll win the job. The Panthers have made it very clear that this is an open contest between Mayfield and incumbent Sam Darnold.

“My goal is to be the best quarterback I can be and help this team win, and that’s why I’m happy to be in Carolina,” Mayfield said in response to his starting spot. “I feel like the team is very close to being really good. We just have to put the pieces together and come together as a team and however that happens I will do my job and fill whatever role is expected of me and be a great leader and a great teammate.”

Mayfield completed 60.5% of his passes for 3,010 yards, 17 touchdowns against 13 interceptions last season. He underwent surgery on a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder this offseason but will be ready to roll for training camp.

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