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#pounditTuesday, January 18, 2022

Articles tagged: Cleveland Browns

Browns legend’s attempt to troll Steelers backfired badly

Ben Roethlisberger throwing a ball

One Cleveland Browns great tried to troll the rival Pittsburgh Steelers this weekend but instead ended up getting trolled himself.

Retired ex-Browns tackle Joe Thomas took a swipe at the Steelers after they were eliminated in the Wild Card round with a 42-21 loss to Kansas City.

“@Steelers, congratulations on your playoff participation trophy,” he wrote.

Of course, that set up Thomas for the obvious counter, which many users, including retired Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel, hit him back with.

“Did you ever get one of those?” tweeted Keisel at Thomas. “No.”

Thomas was a legendary Brown. He played his entire career in Cleveland, making ten Pro Bowls and eight All-Pro teams. But not even a single time during Thomas’ entire ten-year career did the Browns make the playoffs. The team did end their lengthy playoff drought last year, making it to the AFC divisional round. But that was after Thomas had already retired.

The Browns and the Steelers, who are division rivals, obviously can’t stand each other. Thomas has even taken other shots at Pittsburgh since retiring. But the art of irony appeared to be lost on Thomas when he sent that tweet.

Photo: Nov 25, 2018; Denver, CO, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) warms up before the game against the Denver Broncos at Broncos Stadium at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Browns coach responds to reports of tension with Baker Mayfield

Baker Mayfield on the sidelines

During the final month of the regular season, Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield twice took aim at Kevin Stefanski’s play calling. That, coupled with the team’s 8-9 finish, led to rampant speculation that trouble was brewing between the two.

However, the exit meeting between Stefanski and Mayfield reportedly went swimmingly. So much so that general manager Andrew Berry appeared to commit to Mayfield in 2022 and potentially beyond.

On Thursday morning, Stefanski took things a step further and attempted to shut down any notion that he has issues with Mayfield.

“It’s good. We talked. He’s going to get surgery, which is huge for him, and he can start the rehab process here and get ready to jump back into it,” Stefanski told Andy Baskin and Jeff Phelps on 92.3 The Fan. “But Baker and I, I think we work well together.

“I respect him. He respects me. I push him. He understands how we operate. We’ve had two years together, and I think as a team we’ve certainly just had our ups and downs. But I do think that we push each other, and there’s definitely a level of respect there.”

That’s a stronger take than Stefanski had offered on January 7 when he told the team’s beat that his relationship with Mayfield was “no different” than it was in 2020.

Mayfield, meanwhile, has not held a public interview or press conference since January 3. And with surgery currently on tap, it’s unlikely that we’ll hear from him for quite some time.

Image: Aug 29, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) is shown on the sideline during their game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Browns GM addresses Baker Mayfield’s future with team

Baker Mayfield on the sidelines

Baker Mayfield is entering the final year of his rookie contract with the Cleveland Browns, and there has been some talk of the team potentially moving on from him. It sounds like that talk can be put to rest.

Browns general manager Andrew Berry was asked on Tuesday about Mayfield’s future in Cleveland. He said he expects the former first overall pick to return in 2022 and have a bounce-back year.

Berry also said he is not concerned about Mayfield playing out the final season of his contract. That likely confirms the obvious, which is that the Browns won’t try to extend Mayfield this offseason.

Mayfield had a rough season in 2021. He played through a significant shoulder injury, which was definitely a factor in his and the team’s performance. The Browns are already on the hook for nearly $19 million guaranteed after they picked up the fifth-year option on Mayfield’s rookie contract. It makes sense for them to give him another year to prove he can be their franchise QB.

While things can change in a hurry, Mayfield is not likely to be traded this offseason. He went off on a reporter on Twitter last week over talk that he could request a trade.

Photo: Aug 29, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) is shown on the sideline during their game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Browns have reportedly made decision on Baker Mayfield’s future

Baker Mayfield stands on the sideline

Baker Mayfield has one year remaining on his rookie contract with the Cleveland Browns, and there have been rumblings recently that the team could explore trading him this offseason. That is not expected to happen.

The Browns are planning to enter the 2022 season with Mayfield as their starting quarterback, Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of NFL Network report. Mayfield and Browns coach Kevin Stefanski met on Friday and are said to be “on the same page.”

It is true that there have been some communication issues with the Browns this season, according to the report. However, those are viewed as more of a product of on-field struggles and a disappointing year. All of the parties involved are committed to patching things up going forward.

Mayfield will not play on Sunday. He is set to undergo surgery next week for a shoulder injury he played through for most of the season. That and other injuries were almost certainly a factor in his and Cleveland’s disappointing performance.

Mayfield went off on a reporter on Twitter this week over talk that he could request a trade. Other former Browns quarterbacks supported Mayfield and took aim at the Cleveland media.

Photo: Nov 21, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) walks off the field after the Browns beat the Detroit Lions at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Ex-Browns QB identifies the biggest problem in Cleveland

Derek Anderson in Browns gear

A former Browns quarterback identified what he believes is a big problem in Cleveland that hinders the team.

This week, longtime Cleveland Browns reporter Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com wrote an article asserting that Baker Mayfield has issues with the team’s head coach, Kevin Stefanski. She even said Mayfield would consider asking for a trade if things don’t change to his liking.

Mayfield heard about the article and absolutely blasted Cabot over Twitter.

Apparently Mayfield isn’t alone in thinking the reporters who cover the Browns are a problem.

Former Browns QB Brandon Weeden, who played for the team in 2012 and 2013, said it was the same stuff with Cabot, whom he said can’t help herself.

DeShone Kizer, another former Browns quarterback, agreed with Weeden.

But it was Derek Anderson who said it all.

Anderson played in the NFL from 2006-2018. He quarterbacked Cleveland for four seasons from 2006-2009. He went 10-5 as a starter in 2007, making the Pro Bowl that year.

Anderson believes that the media creates and constantly reinforces the “bumbling Browns” narrative, which he believes has a heavy influence on the fan base.

In other words, all these Browns quarterbacks seem to agree that the media in Cleveland has made it very hard to win/turn around the team due to their constant reinforcement of the negative narrative. A reporter writing about a supposed rift between the team’s quarterback and head coach would definitely create the feeling of negativity around the team.

There could be a lot to that line of thinking. The problem is the media does not work for the team, so it’s not like the team can just fire these reporters and replace them with new ones. As far as Cabot and her bosses go, they’re probably pleased the story about Mayfield received so much attention.

Were the issues between Mayfield and Stefanski that Cabot reported about overstated by her? Maybe we will only learn the answer to that question in time.

Here’s the bottom line: under Stefanski and Mayfield, the team had its best season since 1994, going 11-5 and winning a playoff game. The two can obviously produce a winning combination. Sure, this season went poorly, but it’s quite possible that Mayfield’s injuries were the biggest reason why.

Cleveland needs to hit the reset button for 2022 and hope that Mayfield comes back fresh and healthy next season and that they’re able to get closer to the 2020 version of their team rather than the 2021 version. We’re guessing that having Baker healthy will be the big difference-maker for the team.

Photo: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Baker Mayfield blasts Browns reporter over trade request talk

Baker Mayfield on the sidelines

Baker Mayfield had an animated response on Thursday to a report that he may request a trade this offseason.

Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com wrote on Wednesday that Mayfield may ask the Cleveland Browns to trade him if he “doesn’t get assurances that things will change next season.” Cabot was told by sources that Mayfield has been unhappy with the playcalling and does not feel head coach Kevin Stefanski has put him in the best position to succeed.

Mayfield ripped Cabot on Twitter Thursday. He called the story “clickbait” and said Cabot and other members of the Cleveland media are “drama stirring reporters with no sources or facts.”

According to Cabot, Mayfield expressed as far back as October that he felt the Browns had become too run-heavy. He was supposedly frustrated enough at times that he wanted Stefanski to hand over playcalling duties to offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt.

There is likely truth behind the report. Mayfield himself hinted earlier in the season that there have been internal issues with the Browns.

Cleveland’s offense struggled all year. Mayfield threw for just 3,010 yards, 17 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, though he played through a significant shoulder injury. He will undergo surgery rather than playing in Week 18.

Mayfield has been openly frustrated with the media on numerous occasions since the Browns drafted him in 2018. He even walked out on a press conference once after a heated exchange with a reporter.

Photo: Aug 29, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) is shown on the sideline during their game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Browns reporter shares why team passed on Ben Roethlisberger in draft

Ben Roethlisberger throws a pass

The Cleveland Browns got what was likely their final close-up look at Ben Roethlisberger during their game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night. Roethlisberger has completely owned his division rival throughout the years, and some have wondered why he didn’t end up in a Browns uniform. We may have an answer.

Prior to Pittsburgh’s 26-14 win over the Browns, Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com spoke with “The Fan Morning Show” on 93.7 The Fan about why the Browns passed on Roethlisberger in the 2004 NFL Draft. She said former Browns offensive coordinator and interim head coach Terry Robiskie told her the team’s talent evaluators felt at the time that Big Ben had “heavy legs” and would be doomed playing behind their offensive line.

Here’s more:

“They did not think that he would survive too long behind their offensive line, which of course is short-sighted thinking,” Cabot said. “You cannot evaluate a quarterback (based on) what your current offensive line looks like. They had Pete Garcia as their GM at that point. He had come from (the University of Miami) with Butch Davis. They didn’t have a real, longtime, strong NFL GM in place. Had they had one, they may have taken — and should have taken — Ben Roethlisberger at No. 6 overall.”

The Browns selected Kellen Winslow at sixth overall. The tight end had played for Davis at Miami. Davis was the head coach of the Hurricanes for six seasons before the Browns hired him in 2001.

It’s impossible to say if Roethlisberger would have been the same player with the Browns that he became in Pittsburgh. There’s no guarantee the Browns would have developed him as well as the Steelers did. That said, Big Ben on Monday night improved to 26-3-1 in his career against Cleveland. You can’t blame Browns fans for wondering how the past 18 years might have been different had they drafted Roethlisberger.

The Browns may have finally found their franchise quarterback in Baker Mayfield, but the jury is still out on that. Their inability to draft and develop a QB has plagued them for years. Maybe they’d be the team with two Super Bowls in the past 15 years if they got it right with Roethlisberger.

Photo: Dec 19, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) warms up before the game against the Tennessee Titans at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Browns coach explains why Nick Chubb saw little action in first half

Nick Chubb

Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb saw very little action in a 26-14 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night, and that left many scratching their head.

Chubb amassed just four first half carries and 12 overall. He averaged an impressive 4.8 yards per carry, so why didn’t Cleveland hitch their wagon to Chubb and ride things out? That’s a fair question.

“He got a little banged up with a rib injury,” Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said after the game, via Cleveland.com. “He was able to play through it, but he needed some rest.”

Curiously, Stefanski had a different take as the team entered the locker-room at halftime. He told ESPN that Chubb was fine physically, which certainly raised some eyebrows. Things became more confusing with Stefanski’s later claim that Chubb had been injured.

So, was it injury or was it performance and play-calling?

“Yeah, it was a factor in some of those things [the play-calling],” Stefanski said. “I don’t want to overstate that either, though. We just couldn’t sustain drives, staying on the field, those type of things.”

Whatever the case, Chubb was underutilized on Monday night and it cost the Browns in a big way. With the loss, they drop to 7-9 on the season and are now guaranteed to finish the season with a sub-.500 record.

Photo: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Baker Mayfield shares positive message with Browns in tough spot

Baker Mayfield on the sidelines

The Cleveland Browns have a very slim chance of reaching the postseason after their tough Christmas Day loss to the Green Bay Packers, but Baker Mayfield is not sulking about it.

The Browns are 7-8 heading into an important divisional game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. They need to win both of their remaining games and get plenty of help, and Mayfield indicated he is up to the task with his Instagram post on Tuesday.

“Bounce back. Far from finished,” Mayfield wrote.

The AFC remains wide open. It’s possible an 9-8 team could sneak into the postseason, but the Browns are in bad shape with tie-breakers. Their loss to the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 15 hurt them even more than their loss to Green Bay.

Mayfield has been battling injuries all year. He had his worst game of the season against the Packers, and Cleveland only lost 24-22 despite Mayfield throwing four interceptions. Green Bay appeared to get away with a penalty on the last pick he threw, which sealed the Browns’ fate.

Mayfield is trying to inspire and lead, which is something Cleveland’s front office probably appreciates. Still, anything other than a postseason appearance would be hugely disappointing for a team that went 11-5 and won a playoff game a year ago.

Photo: Aug 29, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) is shown on the sideline during their game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Fan’s great observation about Cleveland Browns’ logo goes viral

the cleveland Browns logo on screen

One fan’s observation about the Cleveland Browns’ logo went viral over the weekend.

The Browns played the Green Bay Packers on Saturday. The game was on Christmas and drew tons of viewers, including many casual fans. Leave it to those casual fans to make an observation so few of the rest of us would see.

Here’s the observation: “My parents thought the #browns logo was a rabbit pushing a grocery cart and now I can’t unsee it,” the fan wrote.

No actually NFL fan would come up with that, because we all know the Browns’ logo is their helmet. But now that they mention it, sure, I do see it. But it looks more to me like a rabbit pushing a walker or chair rather than a grocery cart. Still, that’s a great observation and very funny.