Dayton Daily News

Mayfield ‘ready to ascend,’ Stefanski says

- By Mary Kay Cabot

Kevin Stefanski said when he first got hired that ‘the sky’s the limit’ for third-year quarterbac­k Baker Mayfield, and he believes he’s ready to reach for it in the second half of the season.

“We can help him, I know that,” Stefanski said. “We can help him in some of the design and some of the play calls. I think he’s ready to ascend.”

He said he believes that because Mayfield is more comfortabl­e in the system, and that the coaches will scheme it up better for him in the second half.

“Baker has to continue to get better,” he said. “I think comfort level in what we’re

“[Offensive coordinato­r] Alex Van Pelt and the quarterbac­ks had some great meetings over the bye week and then even on Monday,” Stefanski said.

“We used Monday, that bonus day to rehash some of the things we did well. I think Baker would tell you there’s moments where he was really good and moments where he can get better. That’s a great focus for our guys moving forward.”

Mayfield has strung together two encouragin­g performanc­es heading into the second half of the season against the Bengals (3734 victory) and Raiders (16-6 loss in which his receivers dropped five passes), but still has a ways to go.

He’s 26th in the NFL with a 90.9 rating and 29th with a 61.4 completion percentage. He’s a respectabl­e 12th in ESPN’s QBR rankings with a 73.9 grade, but 29th in profootbal­’s rankings with a 67.5 mark.

He’ll face the 2-6 Texans and their poor defense at FirstEnerg­y Stadium on Sunday. The Texans’ defense is 30th overall, including 32nd against the run and 23rd against the pass.

“I think Baker has done a good job of understand­ing the offensive system that is in place there,” Texans interim coach Romeo Crennel, the former Browns coach, said on a video conference Wednesday with reporters. “He’s operating it very well. He fits into it. He can make the throws. Plus, he has a running game.”

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