Baker Mayfield stood 15 yards away from a semicircle of cameras with a member of Cleveland’s media relations staff as Browns starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor was peppered with questions.
Mayfield held his ground and waited his turn in line.
For now Randy White Jersey , this is life for the No. 1 overall draft pick – and the No. 2 QB in Cleveland.
Along with learning a new playbook, offensive system, football-obsessed city and everything else that comes with being a rookie, Mayfield is getting a crash course in patience in the initial stages of his NFL career.
He’s a backup, and unless there’s a dramatic change over the next two months, it will likely be Mayfield’s role this season for the Browns.
”I’m not worried about it,” Mayfield said when asked if he felt like a backup. ”I’m just trying to get better every day. We’re still early in June, this is just the second minicamp day and so I’m not worried about that now.”
This is new, and yet not unfamiliar territory for Mayfield, who went from being a walk-on at Oklahoma to a gun-slinging, trash-talking Heisman Trophy winner last season.
The Browns drafted him first to be their long-term starter, their franchise QB, their franchise’s face. But right now, Mayfield is slotted behind Taylor, who took Buffalo to the playoffs last season and has been so impressive during his first few months in Cleveland.
Mayfield is not only accepting his role, but he’s modeling himself after Taylor. It’s easy now because the season seems far away and each day brings a new challenge to overcome.
But when training camp rolls around next month, Mayfield knows it’s going to be much harder to accept that he’s not the one taking snaps with Cleveland’s starters.
”It’s human nature http://www.dallascowboysteamonline.com/rod-smith-jersey ,” Mayfield said. ”Yeah, you want to play, but I wasn’t brought here to just start. I was brought here to help turn this thing around and whatever my role is that’s what I need to do – whether that’s playing scout team or being the best backup possible or playing. So for me, I’m not worried about that. I need to be prepared for when I do get my shot to be ready to play, but other than that I just gotta continue getting better and improving this team as well.”
Mayfield believes he’s made significant strides since rookie minicamp. With each practice, he senses the game slowing down. He’s getting more confident in the pocket. He’s seeing the field. He’s deciphering complicated defenses.
He’s better, but Mayfield is far from being a finished product.
”Human nature, especially for me, I want to have it all figured out all right now, but that is just not how it works,” he said. ”It is about realizing that we are going to have to take baby steps right now to get to where I want to go. You do not build a great castle all at once. You have to build it block by block. For me, that is how I need to handle it.”
Taylor does, too. He was once in Mayfield’s shoes, sitting behind Joe Flacco in Baltimore. He also knows how quickly things can change after being benched last season by the Bills despite having them in the playoff race.
Taylor has been impressed with Mayfield’s thirst to improve.
”He is asking questions,” Taylor said. ”He is trying to learn the playbook, as well as everyone else is. He is competing. He is a rookie. He is trying to gain as much knowledge as possible.”
Mayfield’s getting some major help from veteran quarterback Drew Stanton, who is serving as a mentor/tutor for the 23-year-old.
It’s a role the 34-year-old Stanton has performed and excelled at previously while working with Matthew Stafford and Carson Palmer Chuck Howley Jersey , both former top overall picks.
Like Taylor, Stanton feels Mayfield has all the intangibles to succeed.
”He has a great mindset,” Stanton said. ”Just coming in here, wanting to work and get better and learn how to do all those things. He’s asking questions that are relevant. He’s engaged and he’s doing it the right way, so I think it’s a relationship that will continue to progress over a period of time. It’s not just something you build overnight, but he has all those tools that you’re excited about. Obviously, there’s a reason why he was drafted No. 1 overall.”
Sports rivalries between California teams are always intense. When it comes to hockey there isn’t much of a history, but that’s about to change.
North meets South when the San Jose Sharks visit the Anaheim Ducks in Game 1 of a first-round Western Conference matchup on Thursday night at Honda Center
This is the 14th playoff series between California teams and only the second between San Jose and Anaheim. It will be nearly impossible to top the first series.
In 2009, the Sharks entered the postseason as Presidents’ Trophy winners and with franchise records of 53 wins and 117 points. The eighth-seeded Ducks pulled off the upset in six games.
This season, Anaheim (44-25-13) finished on a 10-1-1 run to ease past San Jose and the Los Angeles Kings into second place in the Pacific Division.
“If we didn’t have success, we might not even be qualified for the playoffs,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle told the team’s official website.
San Jose (45-27-10) reached 100 points for the first time in coach Peter DeBoer’s three seasons but enters the playoffs on a 1-4-1 slump after a season-high eight-game winning streak.
“We’re drawing probably one of the top teams in the league, and it’s a great test for us,” DeBoer said Monday.
The Sharks went 3-0-1 versus the Ducks in the regular season, with three games going to a shootout. DeBoer is not expecting an easy series.
“They had 101 points, and that was without (Ryan) Getzlaf and (Ryan) Kesler (hip injury) for big parts of the season, so they’re probably a 110-point team at the end of the day Rico Gathers Jersey ,” he said.
Carlyle, who led Anaheim to its only Stanley Cup title in 2007, gave his insight on the Sharks.
“They’re a skating, well-coached hockey club,” he told the Orange County Register. “Lots of balance. They’re not a flashy team by any means but they’ve got a lot of depth through their lineup. They play a high-tempo game.”
San Jose’s offense is powered by Norris Trophy winner Brent Burns, who overcame a slow start — seven assists in his first 19 games — to lead the team with 67 points. Wings Joe Pavelski (66 points) and Logan Couture (team-high 34 goals, 61 points) also figured prominently.
Sharks winger Evander Kane, the fourth overall pick in the 2009 draft by the Atlanta Thrashers, will make his postseason debut. Kane had nine goals and five assists in 17 games after being acquired in February from the Buffalo Sabres.
“In the short period he’s been here, he’s brought speed, which backs teams off. He’s brought a physical presence, which keeps people honest,” DeBoer said Monday.
For the second straight season, winger Rickard Rakell was Anaheim’s top goal scorer, this time with a career-high 34.
Getzlaf appeared in only 56 games — he missed 19 between late October and mid-December after facial surgery — and tied a career low with 11 goals, but also put up 50 assists. He has 118 points (37 goals, 81 assists) in 121 career playoff games.
Anaheim also got 20 goals this season from winger Ondrej Kase — a seventh-round draft pick in 2014 — and 20 from center Adam Henrique after he was picked up in a late November trade from the New Jersey Devils.
Both teams have solid options in goal Deion Sanders Jersey , but the Ducks may have the better tandem.
Anaheim’s John Gibson set a career best with 31 wins and posted a 2.43 goals-against average in 60 games, while Ryan Miller went 12-6-6 with a 2.35 GAA and owns 28 career playoff wins.
San Jose’s Martin Jones reached 30 wins for the third time in as many seasons with the club despite a career-worst 2.55 GAA. Aaron Dell, who won 15 games in his second season, has never played a minute in the postseason.
Both teams will miss key players. For the Ducks, defenseman Cam Fowler (eight goals, 24 assists) is expected to sit out the first round with a shoulder injury.
“The one thing they have is depth,” DeBoer said of Anaheim’s defensemen. “If (Fowler’s) in, he’s a great player. If he isn’t, they have a lot of great players.”
The bulk of the Ducks’ blue-line scoring comes from Josh Manson (career-high 37 points), Brandon Montour (career-high 32 points) and Hampus Lindholm (31 points).
San Jose will still be without Joe Thornton. The 20-year-veteran center has not played since suffering a right knee injury in late January. Nine months earlier, Thornton needed surgery to repair the MCL and ACL in his left knee.
“Not for Game 1, and that’s as far as we’ll go,” DeBoer said Tuesday.
Game 2 is scheduled for Saturday at Honda Center.
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