AFC Notes: Baker Mayfield, Browns, Ravens, Steelers


  • CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones thinks Browns QB Baker Mayfield could buy his freedom if he were willing to take a pay cut to facilitate a trade. He adds Cleveland would prefer not to take this situation to training camp. 
  • However, one source wasn’t sure that idea would appeal to Mayfield: “That’s a lot of pride to swallow.”
  • Browns LB Anthony Walker Jr. has high praise for LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah as both players head into their second season with the team: “For him to understand what he’s doing and understand where he fits in this defense, he can make even more plays. I don’t know if it’s night and day, but you guys will see a different version of him this year.” (Nate Ulrich)


Ravens CB Marlon Humphrey spoke to the media about the defense under new DC Mike Macdonald who is rejoining the team from the collegiate ranks after a stint as the defensive coordinator at Michigan.

“I’m excited. I’m really excited for Mike – a coach I liked when he was here,” Humphrey said via Ravens Wire. “I know he went to Michigan and did well there; they won their conference and everything. So, I really just like the flexibility that I’ve been seeing with what he’s been doing. The vision that I’ve seen.”

Humphrey says the goal is for every defensive back to be able to play all over the secondary, which will allow them to disguise their looks to opposing offenses. 

“I’m getting reps inside; I’m going to get some reps at safety; get some reps here; Chuck [Clark] comes down and plays corner. So, I think that flexibility is going to make us be able to do a lot of good things in the secondary,” he said. “And then also the difference of just changing up looks. A lot of times, if you show this, you play this; if you show this, you play this. Sometimes we’ll show the opposite; sometimes we’ll show this; sometimes we’ll show exactly what we’re doing. So, I think it will definitely keep the offense guessing a lot more than what we’ve been in the past. So, a couple of different things that I’ve seen so far, but I’ve really liked kind of the flexibility of Mike and ‘Harbs’ and everybody – it’s kind of a joint effort – has brought to our defense.”

Humphrey admitted there was some buy-in required from him and the other defensive backs.

I think early on, when they first asked me to do that, I was like, ‘What is going on? Why would they…’ But I think it goes back to me; when I was at Alabama, I redshirted my freshman year, and I remember…Going into that spring, I just remember talking to myself and thinking to myself, ‘Man, when I get the chance to play, it doesn’t matter what position they ask me to play, I’m just going to play it and do the best that I can.’ And so, I think ever since then, it hasn’t really mattered what position anybody asked me to play; I’ve always tried to do what I can and just give the best ability that I can. So, for me, it doesn’t even matter where I play. If they tell me to put my hand in the dirt, then I might…I’m going to have to say something (laughter), but that year at ‘Bama just changed a lot for my mindset and just made me be thankful for any time a coach asks me to just go out there and be able to start.” 


Steelers RB coach Eddie Faulkner is one coach who doesn’t believe that RB Najee Harris needs a lighter workload, instead insisting that Harris is built for this type of game.

“I have never been able to wrap my mind around that if he is fresh and standing next to me, how does that make any sense if he is not in the game if he can handle it?” Faulkner told Mark Kaboly of The Athletic. “It is one thing if the guy is gassed and he is standing on the sidelines trying to get ready to get back in there and go. It is a whole nother thing if he is standing there and looking at you saying, ‘What are we doing?’ If he is healthy and good to go, he’s going to be out there. There are going to be some plays, and he agrees, where we can support him a little better. Ultimately, if Najee is up to speed and gassed up on the sidelines, he’s going to go in the game because he’s that important.”

“To be honest, and people think I am crazy when I say this, but he’s just built for it,” Faulkner added. “I am not saying just physically how he is built, but how he trains. He trains to play a lot of plays in a game. Najee loves everything about it — the preparation, getting the body right, the training element of it — so what you see is the byproduct of what he’s into. He is going to turn every stone that he can to be in elite shape, the top shape he can be in. You see, it’s no lie. You just look at him and see he’s putting in the work. We always look at that and how we can support him better and maybe keep him a little fresher for a play here or there over the course of the game. But man, it’s hard. He’s good at everything.”

“You have to understand that no other offensive rookie was put in the position that I was put in,” Harris said of his first NFL season. “No other offensive player had to come in and be the head honcho of the team and be the focal point of the team. A lot leaned on that one person. I took that in, and they told me that, and I knew it was going to be a long season. Any time they give me the crown to be that guy, I am going to take that and run with it. As the season went on, I know people don’t want to tackle.”

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