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Browns' Baker Mayfield responds to dig from Rex Ryan

There are some who are growing fatigued of all the conversation that follows the Cleveland Browns.

In defense of the Browns and quarteback Baker Mayfield, likely the current face of the franchise, hot takes and fiery quotes seem to follow them.

Such was the case Monday when former NFL head coach and current analyst Rex Ryan quipped, "This Baker Mayfield, I know he's overrated as hell," on ESPN's Get Up.

Two days later, Mayfield had his chance to respond and did so by faking a downplay and finishing strong with a zing of his own.

"It is whatever," Mayfield said before paraphrasing his head coach and then dropping a subtle hammer. "In the wise words of Freddie Kitchens, 'If you do not wear orange and brown, you do not matter,' and Rex Ryan does not have any colors right now for a reason, so it is OK."

Indeed, while Mayfield is struggling individually and the Browns have sputtered to a 1-2 record, Ryan has been out of the head-coaching game since 2016 when he was dismissed after two years at the helm of the Bills and produced a pedestrian 15-16 mark. Over the course of eight seasons as a head coach (the first six with the Jets), Ryan was 61-66. His tenure was likewise marked by stellar defense and often sub-par offense, in particular at the QB spot with the likes of Mark Sanchez, Geno Smith and Tyrod Taylor under center.

"What's he doing right?" Ryan wondered about Mayfield. "Here's a guy right now that is a one-read guy, and then he's going to improvise. He's got to realize, you are one of the slowest guys on that field when you take off with it. The ball's not coming out in rhythm, he's staring down guys, and you're not that accurate down the field."

Mayfield's head coach Freddie Kitchens was also asked about Ryan's harsh words and took the high road on the first leg of his press conference journey.

"I appreciate his opinion and all that, but he is not in our building," Kitchens said. "He has no idea what we are doing. I would answer that with that."

When pressed about Ryan's assertion that Mayfield was a one-read quarterback, Kitchens got a touch more animated.

"No, he is not," Kitchens said. "That is asinine to even say."

The 2018 NFL Draft's top selection, Mayfield's rookie season got off to a great start and was very much the catalyst to a swell of expectation for the 2019 Browns.

However, in 2019, Mayfield's struggles have played out under the spotlight of hype and he's thrown five interceptions in three games with only three touchdowns. In Sunday night's 20-13 loss to the Rams, he completed just 50 percent of his passes.

Mayfield talked about improvement on Wednesday, but as has been the case this season, in particular, blocking out external noise and distraction has become a large part of being QB1 with the Browns.

"I think it is something that you really have to be conscious of because you are surrounded by an environment where you hear a lot of things, stuff pops up on your phone and stuff is on the TV," Mayfield said. "It is just people talking. You just have to make a conscious decision to protect your locker room, take care of your guys and block out the negative stuff."

A pivotal matchup lies ahead Sunday against the host Ravens. That's where Mayfield said his focus lies. It makes sense, because he has far more control over what he does on the field than what talking heads are saying off it.

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