Guest of the League
Appleton Papermakers Blue Est. 2004
FFL: Offseason | NFL: Superbowl

Browns-Cardinals Preview

1576180313

Players: Larry Fitzgerald, Odell Beckham Jr., Kenyan Drake, Baker Mayfield, Nick Chubb, Chase Edmonds, Kyler Murray

Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury watches the clock during the first half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)


Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) runs against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)


Arizona Cardinals middle linebacker Jordan Hicks (58) knocks the helmet off Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jaylen Samuels on the tackle during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)


Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt, right, scores a 3-yard touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Cleveland. The Browns won 27-19. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)


Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield throws during the fist half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)


Cleveland Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens answers questions during a news conference after an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Don Wright)


GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Cleveland's Baker Mayfield might be headed for some relief in his up-and-down second season in the NFL.

Arizona's defense has made a lot of opposing quarterbacks look pretty good.

The Browns (6-7) will try to keep their playoff hopes alive and win for the fifth time in six games when they visit the Cardinals on Sunday. Mayfield hopes to play better than he did last week, when he completed just 11 of 24 passes for 192 yards and two interceptions in Cleveland's 27-19 win over Cincinnati.

''As long as we win, ultimately, that is the main goal, but you have to continue to work on that stuff, get the ball in our guys hands and let them make plays,'' Mayfield said.

Arizona's defense is last in the league in yards allowed and passing yards allowed. The Cardinals have given up at least 21 points in all 13 games this season.

Arizona's Kyler Murray is looking to bounce back from his first three-interception game as an NFL quarterback. Murray has usually avoided big mistakes during his rookie season, but Sunday's three interceptions - all in the second half - were a big reason the Cardinals (3-9-1) lost their sixth game in a row.

''I think as a couple of these losses have stacked up, maybe (he's) trying to do a little too much, trying to win it by himself,'' Arizona coach Kliff Kingsbury said. ''He's got to get back in that rhythm like he was prior to the bye, where, `Hey, you're just doing your job, executing at a high level and not trying to do too much.' We'll work through that.''

GO-BJ?

The rumors, rumblings and reports of Odell Beckham's unhappiness in Cleveland aren't going away any time soon. And while there's smoke, it's still not clear if there's any fire.

Beckham has not said he wants to leave the Browns, but he hasn't publicly stated that he's planting roots either.

This week, coach Freddie Kitchens and several teammates said Beckham has not given them any indication he wants out. In fact, they claimed he has been engaged, motivated to win and seems to enjoy being part of the team's rebuilding effort.

Mayfield was asked if Beckham, who has been dealing with a sports hernia injury for months, will be back for a second season with the Browns.

''I can't answer that for him,'' he said. ''There are all the rumors going around, but I have had my conversations with him and I know what we talk about so I trust him wholeheartedly.''

Beckham's injury has limited his production, but he has played in all 13 games and 96.4 percent of the snaps.

JOHNSON'S RETURN

It has been a mostly disappointing season for Cardinals running back David Johnson, who hasn't had much of a role in the offense since returning from an ankle injury a few weeks ago. He did have a good moment against the Steelers last Sunday, catching a 24-yard touchdown pass to pull the Cardinals within 20-17 in the fourth quarter.

He hopes to have a bigger role in the offense going forward. Johnson has lost time in the running back rotation to Kenyan Drake - who was added by the Cardinals in a midseason trade with the Dolphins - and to a lesser extent Chase Edmonds.

''Any guy who's in the NFL wants to be on the field, so it's tough when you're not out there,'' Johnson said.

BACK ON TOP

Nick Chubb's second season has been impressive. It may also be historic.

The Browns haven't had an NFL rushing leader since 1968, when Hall of Famer Leroy Kelly gained 1,239 yards and scored 16 touchdowns. Chubb enters Sunday's game with a league-leading 1,281 yards, but his only goal remains getting wins - not titles.

The unassuming Chubb said leading the league would be nice, but nothing he planned to do.

''It will mean a lot to me only because how hard I worked and it paid off for me,'' he said. ''That's really the biggest thing for me is just when I work hard, it shows and I get the results that I want.''

TIMELESS FITZGERALD

Even at the age of 36, Arizona receiver Larry Fitzgerald is having another productive season.

He's leading the team with 64 catches for 669 yards. Fitzgerald hasn't committed to playing a 17th season, but Kingsbury said there's no doubt the team wants him back.

''You see what he's done every week, and that's with a young quarterback and with an offense that's still learning how to play in the system,'' Kingsbury said. ''He's as productive a player as we've had on this offense week-in, week-out, reliability and catching the football. He's still a huge weapon for us, and I don't see that changing.''

FAMILIAR FACE

Browns defensive coordinator Steve Wilks was fired last year after just one season as the Cardinals coach. As he prepared to return to Arizona, Wilks said he's not seeking revenge - simply a victory.

''To be honest, I don't really have any emotions in regards to this week,'' said Wilks, who was dismissed after going 3-13. ''I want to win this game just like I wanted to win last week's game just like I wanted to win the first game against Tennessee.''

Wilks had numerous challenges during his first head coaching gig, but said they made him better.

''What I learned is just really how to deal with adversity as a head coach trying to prepare each and every week, trying to get your guys up to perform at a high level,'' he said. ''So it was difficult going through the struggles, but I thought the guys performed and played well and they stayed together throughout.''

Player Notes
LeSean McCoy Jan 27 10:10pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs running back LeSean McCoy, who hasn't had a touch since Week 15 and who was inactive for the AFC Championship against the Titans, said he's not ready to retire after this season. "Nah, I'm not ready to retire, yet," McCoy said. "I still can play. So, I'm not going to retire yet, but that day is coming. That day is definitely coming." The 31-year-old has taken a back seat to running backs Damien Williams and rookie Darwin Thompson down the stretch, and he's unlikely to have much of a role, if any, in the Super Bowl against the 49ers. Shady has become more of a mentor in the running back room than an on-field performer for fantasy owners.

From RotoBaller

George Kittle Jan 27 6:00pm ET

San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (shoulder) said that he's been playing through a torn labrum in his right shoulder since the start of the 2018 season. "So I dislocated my shoulder last year," Kittle said Sunday on the Pardon My Take podcast, "and my labrum is completely torn. So I don't get surgery on it -- [The protective sleeve] basically helps me, so it doesn't hurt all the time." He didn't miss any games in 2018 and set the single-season record for receiving yards by a tight end with 1,377. Kittle said there's "no chance" he has surgery in the future. The 26-year-old has been quiet in the postseason with four catches for 35 yards in two games, but the Niners haven't really needed him with their ground game humming. That could change in the Super Bowl against the Chiefs on Feb. 2.

From RotoBaller

Kareem Hunt Jan 27 3:20pm ET

Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt, who will be a free agent in March, emotionally admitted that he would fail a drug test to a police officer during a traffic stop recently. This was caught on video of the police officer's dash cam during the traffic stop. Hunt also admitted that the small amounts of marijuana found in the car were his, but the officer let Hunt off with just the speeding ticket. It remains to be seen if the NFL will consider a suspension for the 24-year-old from this incident. Hunt was released by the Chiefs during the 2018 season due to a domestic-violence incident, and he served a suspension before making his Browns debut in 2019. If he signs with another team this offseason and is given bell-cow duties in the backfield, Hunt could have RB1 upside.

From RotoBaller

Philip Rivers Jan 27 3:00pm ET

The Los Angeles Chargers have "moved on from Philip Rivers," according to FOX Sports' Jay Glazer. Rivers is set to become a free agent in March, and the writing was on the wall when he recently moved his entire family from San Diego to Florida. Rivers will end a 16-year run with the Chargers, but it remains to be seen where he'll land on the free-agent market this offseason. The Buccaneers are a popular expected destination, but that'll only be if they move on from Jameis Winston. Rivers completed 66 percent of his passes for 4,615 yards, 23 touchdowns and 20 interceptions in 2019 for a QB rating of 88.5. He might have a few more seasons left in him, but at 38 years old his arm strength is clearly deteriorating, and he'll probably be more of a QB2 in 2020, depending on where he winds up.

From RotoBaller

Frank Clark Jan 27 12:30pm ET

Baltimore Ravens defensive end Matthew Judon is a candidate to receive the team's franchise tag and could also be traded, according to league sources. The Ravens would like to bring Judon back in 2020, but they are also likely to listen to trade offers if another team shows interest. The Niners dealt a second-round pick to the Chiefs last year for defensive end Dee Ford, who then signed a five-year deal worth up to $87.5 million last March. The Chiefs also traded first- and third-round picks to the Seahawks last April for defensive end Frank Clark, who then signed a five-year, $105.5 million deal. Judon has emerged as a high-end pass rusher with at least seven sacks in each of the last three years. The 27-year-old had a career-high 9.5 sacks in 2019 and was selected to the Pro Bowl for the first time.

From RotoBaller

Fletcher Cox Jan 26 6:43pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles DT Fletcher Cox was credited with a 61-yard interception return for touchdown at the Pro Bowl on Sunday, Jan. 26.

From TheHuddle

Jack Doyle Jan 26 6:33pm ET

Indianapolis Colts TE Jack Doyle posted three catches for 63 yards and a touchdown on four targets for the AFC at the Pro Bowl Sunday, Jan. 26.

From TheHuddle

T.J. Watt Jan 26 6:33pm ET

Pittsburgh Steelers DE T.J. Watt posted an 82-yard fumble return for touchdown in the fourth quarter for the AFC at the Pro Bowl in Orlando on Sunday, Jan. 26.

From TheHuddle

Mark Andrews Jan 26 6:23pm ET

Baltimore Ravens TE Mark Andrews ended up with a game-high nine receptions for an AFC-best 73 yards and a touchdown on 10 targets at the Pro Bowl on Sunday, Jan. 26.

From TheHuddle

D.J. Chark Jan 26 6:23pm ET

Jacksonville Jaguars WR DJ Chark Jr. registered two grabs for 67 yards, including a 60-yard touchdown in the third quarter, for the AFC at the Pro Bowl on Sunday, Jan. 26.

From TheHuddle

Davante Adams Jan 26 6:13pm ET

Green Bay Packers WR Davante Adams ended up with a team-high six receptions for 61 yards and two touchdowns on seven targets for the NFC at the Pro Bowl Sunday, Jan. 26.

From TheHuddle

Amari Cooper Jan 26 6:13pm ET

Dallas Cowboys WR Amari Cooper finished with three grabs for 24 yards and a touchdown on seven targets for the NFC at the Pro Bowl on Sunday, Jan. 26.

From TheHuddle

Kirk Cousins Jan 26 6:03pm ET

Minnesota Vikings QB Kirk Cousins completed 13-of-22 passes for 181 yards, two touchdowns and one interception at the Pro Bowl on Sunday, Jan. 26

From TheHuddle

Michael Thomas Jan 26 6:03pm ET

New Orleans Saints WR Michael Thomas hauled in five receptions for 92 yards and a touchdown with a team-high eight targets at the Pro Bowl Sunday, Jan. 26.

From TheHuddle

Calais Campbell Jan 26 5:53pm ET

Jacksonville Jaguars DE Calais Campbell had a solo tackle, a sack and a quarterback hit in the Pro Bowl on Sunday, Jan. 26, winning the Defensive Most Valuable Player award.

From TheHuddle

Lamar Jackson Jan 26 5:53pm ET

Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson completed 16-of-23 passes for 185 yards, two touchdowns and one interception for the AFC in the Pro Bowl, winning Offensive Most Valuable Player. He also ran twice for six yards in the 38-33 win.

From TheHuddle

Darren Fells Jan 26 2:13pm ET

Houston Texans impending free-agent TE Darren Fells is a player the Texans will try to re-sign this offseason, but he probably will receive interest from multiple teams in free agency.

From TheHuddle

A.J. McCarron Jan 26 2:13pm ET

Houston Texans impending free-agent QB AJ McCarron is a candidate to be re-signed this offseason, in the opinion of ESPN.com's Sarah Barshop.

From TheHuddle

C.J. Mosley Jan 26 1:00pm ET

New York Jets linebacker C.J. Mosley (groin), who is six weeks removed from groin/abdominal surgery, said he is jogging "a little bit" and is on track to take part in "spring football." Mosley has also started a vegan diet after playing in just two games last season because of his injury in his first year in New York. The 27-year-old should be ready for a full training camp heading into the 2020 season, and he should give Gang Green a steadying presence in the middle of the field next season. Mosley recorded 100-plus tackles in four of his five seasons in Baltimore before signing with the Jets in free agency last offseason.

From RotoBaller

Eric Berry Jan 26 1:00pm ET

Former Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry, who did not play at all in 2019, plans to play in 2020 after intentionally taking the season off to rest his body and mind. Berry was cut by the Chiefs in 2018 and has only played in three games since 2016 due to injuries and a bout with cancer. The former first-round pick in 2010 has 14 career interceptions and five touchdowns and could provide a team with a veteran presence in the secondary in 2020. However, it remains to be seen if any team will take a chance on the veteran moving forward. Berry is unlikely to be an asset in IDP leagues if he gets picked up by a team.

From RotoBaller