BEREA — The Baker Mayfield-Sam Darnold rematch won’t happen Monday night.
Darnold, the Jets’ second-year quarterback, will miss the prime-time game against the Browns after being diagnosed with mononucleosis, Jets coach Adam Gase announced Thursday morning. He’s expected to miss multiple weeks.
Browns coach Freddie Kitchens kept the focus on his team.
“It was very evident last week, we don’t need to worry about who’s playing, who’s not playing,” Kitchens said, referring to a 43-13 Week 1 loss to the Titans, who were without two of their starting offensive linemen. “We’re going to prepare like we prepare.”
Trevor Siemian, in his fifth year out of Northwestern, will start against the Browns in New Jersey.
Siemian was a seventh-round pick of the Broncos in 2015 and went 13-11 as a starter for the Broncos in 2016-17. He’s completed 59.3 percent for 5,686 yards, 30 touchdowns, 24 interceptions and a 79.9 passer rating.
Kitchens was asked how the preparation will change with the switch in quarterbacks.
“Nothing. Nothing at all,” he said. “We’re going to be focused on our preparation during the week the same as we would’ve been before. We’re going to try to get after the quarterback just like we did before. We try to affect the quarterback every way that we can, through coverage, through pressure. Nothing changed.”
Mayfield and Darnold will always be connected, even if Darnold is watching from home Monday night.
Mayfield was the No. 1 pick in the draft last season and Darnold went No. 3. In their first meeting in the NFL, Mayfield came off the bench in Week 3 to snap the team’s 19-game winless streak by rallying the Browns past Darnold and the Jets to a 21-17 victory at FirstEnergy Stadium on a Thursday night.
The city went crazy, and the organization began its progression to this season’s playoff expectations.
“Unfortunate news for Sam,” Mayfield said. “I hope he gets healthy.”
Receiver Odell Beckham Jr. wants the watch discussion to go away — even if he still might wear the $189,500 Richard Mille timepiece during games.
He wore it in the opening loss to the Titans, and the NFL said wearing a watch is prohibited because it’s a safety issue.
“I’m done talking about the watch. If I wear pink laces and it’s not breast cancer month, it would probably be talked about,” he said. “With me I know what it is, people just need something to talk about. I have a completely different mentality, different take on where I’m at in my life. I came here to play football. I don’t talk about anything else but football. I’d love for people to talk about me as a football player.
“But other than that, I’m not talking about unnecessary stuff that people are mad about. It doesn’t bother me, I’m not losing no sleep over it. If I want to wear it, I’ll wear it, but I’m done talking about it.”
He was asked what he’d do if Kitchens asked him not to wear it during games.
“I’m done talking about the watch,” Beckham said.
The Jets listed 15 players on the injury report but got good news after running back Le’Veon Bell didn’t practice and got an MRI on his sore shoulder. He tweeted he’s fine and ready to go for Monday night.
Bell rushed 17 times for 60 yards and caught six passes for 32 yards and a touchdown in his Jets debut Sunday.
Left tackle Kelvin Beachum (ankle), linebacker C.J. Mosley (groin), defensive lineman Quinnen Williams (ankle), receiver Demaryius Thomas (hamstring) and linebacker/defensive lineman John Franklin-Myers (foot) also didn’t practice.
** For the Browns, backup tackle Kendall Lamm (knee), running back Dontrell Hilliard (concussion), defensive lineman Chris Smith (personal tragedy) and linebacker Adarius Taylor (ankle) didn’t practice.
Receiver Rashard Higgins (knee) and left guard Joel Bitonio (abdomen) were limited. Beckham (hip), free safety Damarious Randall (hand) and defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi (shoulder) were full participants.
Justin McCray, who was recently acquired in a trade from the Packers, would likely replace Lamm as the top backup tackle.
** Rookie linebacker Sione Takitaki, a third-round pick, wasn’t on the injury report after being limited last week with a hamstring injury. Kitchens was non-committal if he’d take Taylor’s repetitions with the first-team defense.
DRINK IT IN
Titans cornerback Logan Ryan made headlines this week when he complained about a Browns fan who sprayed beer on him and three teammates Sunday. After originally saying the offending fan had been banned indefinitely from the stadium, the Browns announced Wednesday they’re still investigating the incident.
Randall said no action was taken when he got worse treatment last year in Oakland.
“After the interception I celebrated in the end zone, and I got maybe two or three buckets of beer poured on me. And nothing was said,” he said. “I just thought that’s the price you pay for playing away. I didn’t really look too much into it. The beer tasted pretty good, too.”
Special teams ace Joshua Cribbs is a first-year nominee for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the Hall announced. He was a three-time Pro Bowler and one-time All-Pro while playing with the Browns from 2005-12.
“OMG,” he tweeted. “I’m a Gold Jacket Contender/ Hall of Fame Eligibility/ I was Nominated!!! #Dawgs.
“#ProBowlReturner #ProBowlCoverGuy #AllDecade Question Who’s ever done both at that…”
The list of 122 will be trimmed to 25 semifinalists in November.
** Linebacker Clay Matthews is again on the list of nominees. He was a semifinalist last year.
** The Browns signed guard Colby Gossett to the practice squad and cut rookie cornerback Donnie Lewis Jr.