The Cleveland Browns have not had Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry for most of OTA’s, but it could end up helping Baker Mayfield.
Odell Beckham Jr. has been grabbing plenty of headlines recently because of his lack of attendance at the Cleveland Browns’ OTA practices. Not only because he has not been around the team, but because he has been unable to build a chemistry with quarterback Baker Mayfield.
Without Beckham attending practices, as well Jarvis Landry missing time with what the team calls a minor injury, it has resulted in Mayfield throwing to a lot of players on the fringe of the roster.
He still has Rashard Higgins and Antonio Callaway, but even Callaway has had spotty attendance during OTA’s. With all of the absences from the top of the wide receiver depth, Mayfield has been able to build on his already strong chemistry with Higgins.
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But other than Higgins, Mayfield has been throwing to many receivers who are battling to make the roster. Mayfield is having to build chemistry with wide receivers who may not even be on the roster when the season starts.
However, Mayfield throwing to these receivers could help him adjust to the offense and continue his development. Instead of having Beckham and Landry, who are mismatches for a lot of cornerbacks, Mayfield has receivers who are not going to get open as easily as Beckham and Landry when they are on the field.
This is why Browns quarterbacks coach Ryan Lindley thinks the absence of Cleveland’s top two receivers will be beneficial for Mayfield, at least for this portion of the offseason – via Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com.
"“In your progression you’re going to say ‘well shoot, we’ve got a good matchup with Odell,’ we’re probably going to say ‘screw everything else’ and just look at it. Whereas, he’s here he’s really got to say ‘okay let’s work to the progression, allow the concepts and the routes to get themselves open and get players open and work within the system’ so it’s really going to be great for his development (and) he’s going to be a much better quarterback because of it.’’ – Cabot, Cleveland.com"
Because Mayfield does not have two wide receivers who can make plays no matter the circumstance, he is forced to make throws into tight windows or wait until a play fully develops. He cannot abandon the offense completely right now because he knows he can’t just throw to Beckham or Landry and have them make an extremely difficult play.
This is causing Mayfield to still work within the offense and force an even greater emphasis on making accurate throws. And so far in camp, Mayfield has done so with two great throws to Rashard Higgins and Ismael Hyman. And with new offensive coordinator Todd Monken installing some of his concepts, Mayfield is getting more experience learning the new parts of the offense.
Mayfield may not have a chance to build a chemistry with Beckham and continue to work on adjustments with Landry. However, Mayfield throwing to receivers other than the Beckham and Landry could help in the long run for the 2019 season.