Baker Mayfield Cites 'Drama Within the Building' for Browns' Early-Season Woes

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 30, 2019

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - DECEMBER 30: Quarterback Baker Mayfield #6 of the Cleveland Browns walks off the field after the Browns lost to the Baltimore Ravens 26-24 at M&T Bank Stadium on December 30, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield shed some light on what led to a 2-6-1 start to the 2018 season.

Mayfield explained Wednesday that the Browns were dealing with turmoil behind closed doors as the team struggled on the field, per USA Today's Lorenzo Reyes:

"There's a lot of stuff from behind the scenes that I don't even need to get into because that's in the past and I'm focused on the future. I think everything happens for a reason. And there's a reason we weren't playing well when all of that was going on. If you have that many distractions and that much drama within the building, how are you supposed to go out on Sunday and compete? So to be able to eliminate distractions, focus on doing your job, having guys who believe in it is the best thing. And that's what we have right now in Freddie (Kitchens)."

While Mayfield didn't explicitly reference Hue Jackson, it's hard not to read his comments as a thinly veiled critique of the former Browns coach.

Cleveland fired Jackson after a 33-18 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 8. Offensive coordinator Todd Haley was let go as well, with Yahoo Sports' Charles Robinson detailing the general dysfunction between Jackson and his coaching staff, Haley included.

The Browns lost in former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams' debut as the interim head coach but then reeled off five victories in their final seven games.

Cleveland was clearly a different team after Jackson left, and Mayfield hasn't been shy about trolling his old coach at every opportunity.

He called Jackson "fake" in an Instagram comment after Jackson joined the Cincinnati Bengals' coaching staff following his firing. After the Browns' Week 12 victory over the Bengals, fans also noticed Mayfield's brusque reaction when Jackson approached him on the field.

As Cleveland was on its way to a 26-18 win over Cincinnati in Week 16, Mayfield also stared down Jackson on the sideline in the fourth quarter after throwing a touchdown pass to David Njoku.

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