Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield always will be linked as high-end members of the same draft class in 2018.
As the two quarterbacks set to square off on Sunday, Mayfield, the former No. 1 pick, has the Browns on the precipice of their first playoff berth since 2002, with a 10-4 record one year after he finished second in the league with 21 interceptions in a 6-10 season.
Darnold, the 2018 No. 3 pick, and the Jets didn’t win their first game of 2020 until last week against the Rams, but vastly improved play from one year to the next of Mayfield and the Browns perhaps can be a lesson for the Jets if they don’t make a splashy quarterback change via the draft for next season.
“Baker’s been playing great. I honestly haven’t been watching a ton of him, but obviously they’re winning games, so he must be doing a good job,” Darnold said after practice Thursday. “I always say it and I’m gonna say it again. Quarterbacks and coaches in this league are always judged on wins and losses. That’s it.
“Baker’s winning this year and we haven’t won as much this year as we would like to, obviously. We’re going to continue to be judged on that, as we should be. … Baker’s been doing a really good job this year, and I think for me, there’s obviously some things I need to work on.”
Darnold added that his family got tested for COVID-19 through the Jets and he will get to spend Christmas with them.
Adam Gase on rookie left tackle Mekhi Becton facing Pro Bowl defensive end Myles Garrett (11 sacks) on Sunday: “If you want to know where you’re at, this is the right guy to go against. … When you see him play live, it’s an impressive sight to see.”
Tight end Ryan Griffin was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list Wednesday because he was deemed to have come in close contact with someone outside the organization who tested positive. Gase said he still believes Griffin “has got a shot” to play Sunday if he continues to test negative.
Browns rookie left tackle Jedrick Wills was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list Thursday, but reportedly could play.
In addition to Curtis Martin Team MVP award winner Marcus Maye, other winners included Frank Gore (Dennis Byrd/Most Inspirational), Griffin (Ed Block/Courage), Matthias Farley (Marty Lyons/Community Service), Folorunso Fatukasi (Kyle Clifton/Good Guy) and Denzel Mims (Bill Hampton/Rookie Who Acts Like a Pro). … CB Javelin Guidry (knee) did not practice.