Cleveland Browns: 4 early takeaways from opening days of OTAs
1. Baker is in charge
What a difference a year makes. This time last season, everyone wanted to get a glimpse of rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield as he worked with the backups. He entered camp behind Tyrod Taylor and wasn’t even given any reps with the first team, which guaranteed the veteran would start.
This season, it’s a different story. Mayfield is the unquestioned leader of this franchise and he’s showing it in his work ethic and the way he’s running the offense. Even Nathan Zegura took notice, saying it was night and day from a season ago and that he’s the “unquestioned leader.”
Mayfield is poised for a big season with all the additions around him. Not only that, but the coaching staff is setting him up for success this season — rather than a year ago where Hue Jackson was doing all he could to hold him back.
New coach Freddie Kitchens built a great rapport with Mayfield in the final eight games of the season and that will continue this season as the quarterback has had a whole offense to dig deeper into the offense Kitchens runs.
One of the most important things Baker did on Wednesday was when he attempted to squash the discussion about Odell Beckham, Jr. not being there Wednesday. He was quick to give a decisive answer that OBJ will be there when it matters and that worrying about Day 2 of OTAs was meaningless.
Mayfield is quickly growing into his role as a team leader, which bodes well for what he will do on the field in 2019.