Baker Mayfield back to work with Rams after big debut win
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — Baker Mayfield got less than 48 hours to prepare for his first game with Los Angeles Rams, and he needed just over 48 hours to wind down from that spectacular debut victory last week.
“I think probably Sunday afternoon, my adrenaline and everything settled down a little bit,” Mayfield said Thursday, a full week after that 17-16 win over the Raiders. “I slept for probably about a day and half.”
After a promising start to Mayfield’s partnership with Sean McVay became incredible with two late touchdown drives to steal LA’s first win since mid-October, the coach and his fourth starting quarterback of the season are back at work for the Rams (4-9), who visit frigid Green Bay on Monday night.
McVay has confirmed Mayfield will be his starter for the final four games of the Rams’ lost season — and he’ll even get a full week of practice before he faces the Packers.
“It’s definitely nice to be able to take a deep breath,” Mayfield said. “It’s going to be nice for me, just being a really routine guy, it’ll be good going into this next game having a full week of practice and prep.”
But Mayfield isn’t trying to cram the Rams’ entire playbook into his head during this extra-long week between games. In fact, he took some time off over the weekend to sleep and to reset his mind following his departure from Carolina after seven disappointing games.
That’s all according to plan for McVay, who said he has discussed the intricacies of adding new players at midseason with Brad Stevens, the longtime basketball coach now serving as the Boston Celtics’ general manager.
McVay said he and Stevens agree coaches should “give them just enough to try to go play great,” he said, calling it “bite-sized increments.”
“You can sometimes immerse these guys in information, and not all of it is necessary to go play at a really high level,” he added. “You want to be selective with the information that you’re giving. You see the way that he’s really building on some of the initial understanding of those things, and that’s what’s been impressive.”
Mayfield will be a free agent after the Rams’ season ends, and the next step in his career could be influenced by what happens in the rest of his unlikely partnership with McVay, whose record of getting the most out of his quarterbacks is fairly impressive.
Mayfield has already been a dependable, playoff-bound NFL starter in Cleveland, but his first performance for the Rams evoked the ever-so-slightly faded memories of the transcendent talent that made him a Heisman Trophy winner and a No. 1 pick.
Mayfield went 22 of 35 for 230 yards against Vegas while playing with several Rams receivers he had never even met until about 30 hours before kickoff. Whatever his future holds in the spring, Mayfield seems excited to see what he can still accomplish in the limited time he is guaranteed with the Rams.
“That was such a whirlwind right there, but I’m looking to get better each week,” Mayfield said. “Get to a certain point of just being the best version of me, and elevating this team in any way I can, and just being myself. Circumstances happened and now I’m here, so I’m going try and make the most of it.”
NOTES: The Rams released LB Terrell Lewis, a third-round pick in 2020 out of Alabama. Lewis struggled for consistent health and never blossomed into the standout pass-rusher that Los Angeles hoped to get. He had just one sack and three quarterback hits this season despite playing extensively on the edge. Both of the Rams’ presumptive preseason replacements for Von Miller — Lewis and Justin Hollins — have been released. … DT Aaron Donald skipped practice again Thursday, resting his high ankle sprain for the third straight week. He hasn’t been ruled out for Monday. … C Brian Allen (knee), DT Marquise Copeland (ankle), LB Travin Howard (hip), CB David Long Jr. (groin) and QB John Wolford (neck) missed practice. LB Ernest Jones (wrist) was limited.
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