Practicing patience: Browns’ Mayfield waits turn as backup
By TOM WITHERS
AP Sports Writer
Wednesday, June 13
BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Baker Mayfield stood 15 yards away from a semicircle of cameras with a member of Cleveland’s media relations staff as Browns starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor was peppered with questions.
Mayfield held his ground and waited his turn in line.
For now, this is life for the No. 1 overall draft pick — and the No. 2 QB in Cleveland.
Along with learning a new playbook, offensive system, football-obsessed city and everything else that comes with being a rookie, Mayfield is getting a crash course in patience in the initial stages of his NFL career.
He’s a backup, and unless there’s a dramatic change over the next two months, it will likely be Mayfield’s role this season for the Browns.
“I’m not worried about it,” Mayfield said when asked if he felt like a backup. “I’m just trying to get better every day. We’re still early in June, this is just the second mini-camp day and so I’m not worried about that now.”
This is new, and yet not unfamiliar territory for Mayfield, who went from being a walk-on at Oklahoma to a gun-slinging, trash-talking Heisman Trophy winner last season.
The Browns drafted him first to be their long-term starter, their franchise QB, their franchise’s face. But right now, Mayfield is slotted behind Taylor, who took Buffalo to the playoffs last season and has been so impressive during his first few months in Cleveland.
Mayfield is not only accepting his role, but he’s modeling himself after Taylor. It’s easy now because the season seems far away and each day brings a new challenge to overcome.
But when training camp rolls around next month, Mayfield knows it’s going to be much harder to accept that he’s not the one taking snaps with Cleveland’s starters.
“It’s human nature,” Mayfield said. “Yeah, you want to play, but I wasn’t brought here to just start. I was brought here to help turn this thing around and whatever my role is that’s what I need to do — whether that’s playing scout team or being the best backup possible or playing. So for me, I’m not worried about that. I need to be prepared for when I do get my shot to be ready to play, but other than that I just gotta continue getting better and improving this team as well.”
Mayfield believes he’s made significant strides since rookie mini-camp. With each practice, he senses the game slowing down. He’s getting more confident in the pocket. He’s seeing the field. He’s deciphering complicated defenses.
He’s better, but Mayfield is far from being a finished product.
“Human nature, especially for me, I want to have it all figured out all right now, but that is just not how it works,” he said. “It is about realizing that we are going to have to take baby steps right now to get to where I want to go. You do not build a great castle all at once. You have to build it block by block. For me, that is how I need to handle it.”
Taylor does, too. He was once in Mayfield’s shoes, sitting behind Joe Flacco in Baltimore. He also knows how quickly things can change after being benched last season by the Bills despite having them in the playoff race.
Taylor has been impressed with Mayfield’s thirst to improve.
“He is asking questions,” Taylor said. “He is trying to learn the playbook, as well as everyone else is. He is competing. He is a rookie. He is trying to gain as much knowledge as possible.”
Mayfield’s getting some major help from veteran quarterback Drew Stanton, who is serving as a mentor/tutor for the 23-year-old.
It’s a role the 34-year-old Stanton has performed and excelled at previously while working with Matthew Stafford and Carson Palmer, both former top overall picks.
Like Taylor, Stanton feels Mayfield has all the intangibles to succeed.
“He has a great mindset,” Stanton said. “Just coming in here, wanting to work and get better and learn how to do all those things. He’s asking questions that are relevant. He’s engaged and he’s doing it the right way, so I think it’s a relationship that will continue to progress over a period of time. It’s not just something you build overnight, but he has all those tools that you’re excited about. Obviously, there’s a reason why he was drafted No. 1 overall.”
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Ex-Dolphins receiver Landry says relationship with QB Tannehill wasn’t good
By Chris Perkins, Sun Sentinel
Wednesday, June 13
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry said Wednesday he never had a good relationship with Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill and he’s not surprised he hasn’t heard from Tannehill since Miami traded him to Cleveland.
“I’m not surprised,” Landry said in reference to not hearing from Tannehill. “We didn’t really have a good relationship anyway, so I’m not surprised.”
Last week Landry, traded to the Browns in March, raised eyebrows in an interview with the Cleveland Plain Dealer when he referred to Cleveland’s plans to use him.
Some thought Landry, Tannehill’s teammate for four seasons, was taking a shot at Tannehill when he ended a quote by saying his situation in Cleveland is “a lot better than what I had in Miami.”
Landry, in an interview posted on Cleveland.com, said, “I think (Cleveland offensive coordinator) Todd (Haley) is going to give me the opportunities I need to … not show off my talents, but the things that I can do. I believe that I’m a complete receiver all-around.
“Do I lack speed? Yeah, but a lot of guys lack speed. (Oakland’s) Jordy Nelson lacks speed, but he goes over 1,000 yards. The quarterback play is so important, which has got me that much more excited about Tyrod (Taylor) and (Baker Mayfield) and the way that they’re throwing the ball out here, it makes me that much more excited. It’s a lot better than what I had in Miami. I’m excited about that.”
Landry, in Wednesday’s interview, was asked whether it was fair to say he’d previously said his group of quarterbacks in Cleveland — Taylor, Mayfield and Drew Stanton — was better than what he had in Miami, and Taylor gathering players for preseason workouts was something that didn’t happen in Miami.
“Yes,” Landry replied.
It should be noted Tannehill has gathered players for preseason workouts over the years and Landry participated.
It was then said to Landry that he apparently doesn’t mind looking in the rear view mirror and saying those things about his old team.
Landry replied, “I wasn’t trying to look back in the rear view mirror, you know. I’m focused on here and where we’re taking it here. I wasn’t trying to take a shot at him. I understand how hard every guy in this NFL works, especially at the position, especially at the quarterback position. But at the same time, too, you know, I give credit where credit is due.”
Landry isn’t the only former Dolphins player Miami fans have accused of taking a shot at Tannehill.
Mike Pouncey, the former Dolphins center who is now with the Los Angeles Chargers, recently remarked he’s glad to be playing with quarterback Philip Rivers.
“No disrespect to any of the guys in Miami,” he said. “I enjoyed my career there for seven years with the Miami Dolphins, but to be able to play with an elite guy like this and a Hall of Fame quarterback is something I always dreamed of in my life. I can’t wait.”
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