BEREA — Oakland Raiders coach Jon Gruden is bracing for the Baker Mayfield effect.
"The guy’s got the 'it' factor," Gruden said Wednesday during a conference call with Browns beat writers. "He’s got the charisma. He’s got the competitiveness. He’s got the feel. He’s got the ability to be great, I think."
Of course, Gruden hopes Mayfield will be less than great in his NFL starting debut Sunday when the Browns (1-1-1) visit the Raiders (0-3). After all, if the rookie quarterback is rolling, his team will likely follow suit. Mayfield, the No. 1 overall draft pick, has a reputation for elevating his supporting cast with his confidence as well as his play.
"Those are the intangibles that you look for that are hard to find," Gruden said. "Do they like the pressure? Do they like the big moment? Some guys come alive. Some guys don’t. Some guys can bring out the best in their teammates. Some guys struggle to do that.
"But Mayfield has the magic about him. He has the charisma about him that really allows I think everybody on that team, defensively included, to play at a higher level. They know if we can get the ball back to this kid, something good’s going to happen."
The Browns buy the theory that Mayfield's moxie will rub off on his teammates.
"Oh, it normally does, especially from that position," Browns coach Hue Jackson said. "That position is the face of the franchise, so you kind of go as that guy goes. He has that magnetism about himself."
Wide receiver Jarvis Landry said Mayfield's confidence allowed him to excel last week on "Thursday Night Football." Mayfield came off the bench with 1:42 left in the second quarter and the Browns trailing the New York Jets 14-0 after quarterback Tyrod Taylor suffered a concussion. He went 17-of-23 passing (73.9 percent) for 201 yards with a rating of 100.1 while leading the Browns to a 21-17 comeback win, their first victory since Dec. 24, 2016.
After the game, Mayfield presented Landry with a T-shirt that, with a nod to the three-time Pro Bowler's "Hard Knocks" catchphrase, read, "Bless'M Browns beat Jets 9.20.18."
"One thing I know about him: He walk it like he talk it," Landry said. "That’s something that I appreciate and respect about him.
"That’s just who he is. I followed him a bit when he was at Oklahoma when he had the signs and [did] the flag thing at [Ohio State]. It’s that, 'walk it, talk it.' He definitely has that attitude and charisma, and that is contagious."
Unlike Buckeyes fans, Landry said he "loved" when Mayfield planted an Oklahoma flag on the field at Ohio Stadium.
"I know a lot of people were pissed," Landry said, "but I think a lot of people are happy now that he’s winning in the orange and brown."
Gruden is well aware of the Browns' history at quarterback since 1999. On Sunday, Mayfield will become the 30th QB to start for them during the expansion era.
"What they haven’t had is a frontline starter that really can make all the plays, and I think Mayfield, if you draw a line under that name, he’s the man," Gruden said. "He’s the story that I think right now is going to become bigger and bigger in Cleveland this year."
Nate Ulrich can be reached at email@example.com. Read his Browns coverage at www.ohio.com/browns. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ByNateUlrich and on Facebook www.facebook.com/abj.sports.