Berea, Ohio — Baker Mayfield took the snap and faked a handoff. With pressure all around him, he booted right. No open targets meant tuck and run.
He turned upfield and suddenly took an unexpected bump. Second-year linebacker Jacob Phillips slightly lowered his shoulder. Mayfield braced, hit back and barked toward Phillips after a quick whistle.
No big deal. It’s mid-August. Humidity neared 80 percent and things were chippy from start to finish at Day 11 of Browns camp. Still, QB1 should never be touched. Jarvis Landry agreed. Calmly, the wise veteran wandered onto the field. Serving as a reminder that though he appreciates physicality, that wasn’t it.
Landry wasn’t involved in the rep but delivered its final words.
Then everyone moved on without drama. Phillips knows better. Mayfield let a fellow leader clean it up and practice continued.
Whether he’s targeted, asked to run block, on the sideline or defusing conflict, Landry’s influence hovers over Berea. His leadership, work ethic and playmaking converged during Tuesday’s intense practice.
Let’s highlight some key moments from Day 11 of Browns camp that proved why Landry will remain a focal point of Kevin Stefanski’s offense.
Landry doesn’t take reps off
Tuesday’s practice felt real. The honeymoon of starting camp with new faces and old fans faded. Tension lingered and pads popped. Landry embraced it. Early in the day, he fielded a sidearm screen pass from Mayfield. It was a play I haven’t seen the Browns run in a while.
The screen hit inside, rather than attacking the sideline. This helped Landry slide inside the Browns’ overhanging defense backs. Once by them, Landry bounced it back outside and was gone.
It was a nice flash of explosion. I forget how quick Landry is. Last year he constantly battled injuries. Wide receiver coach Chad O’Shea spoke about that last week. This year Landry appears fresher. In 2020, he caught 72 balls (career-low) for 840 yards (lowest since rookie year) and scored three times (career-low).
Landry landed on the COVID-19 list during Week 16 and missed the first game of his career. Still, those numbers must increase. Odell Beckham Jr. is back. This is Year 2 with Stefanski and Landry looks ready.
He remains a practice focal point. Whenever first-team reps Landry is out there. He works the slot and outside. He even motioned into the backfield once on Tuesday. Mayfield knows exactly where Landry is. I’ve noticed during situational drills Landry’s use increases.
If it’s third-and-short then Landry will either be near the ball or used as a decoy. Stefanski admires Landry’s competitiveness. It’s why he’s such a consistent pass catcher. That energy radiated through practice. Landry caught a speed out shortly after his screen pass touchdown.
A simple three-yard pass turned into an easy Mayfield to Landry first-down completion. Then Landry had a little something to say to anyone nearby willing to listen. His competitive fire never dies.
His role won’t change
During a 7-on-7 session, I noticed an impressive route concept. The Browns motioned Nick Chubb out wide and corner Troy Hill (23) lined up over him. That signals zone coverage. Landry and Higgins were inside Chubb. On the snap, Landry worked 10 yards vertical with an outside release. Higgins pushed outside and vertically too. This forced both the nickel corner and field linebacker to widen.
Higgins settled just outside Jacob Phillips (50), forcing the backer to acknowledge him. This gave Landry an inside window. He snapped his route off and flattened. Without wasting a motion, Landry snuck behind Phillips for a smooth first down.
A few days ago someone suggested Landry’s No. 2 spot may be in danger. Yes, a Donovan Peoples-Jones breakout lingers but remember exactly what Landry still is. Rookie Greg Newsome labeled him one of the world’s best route runners. Stefanski raves about his competitive spirit. OBJ calls he’s a best friend and Mayfield counts on his reliability.
To Browns fans, he’s Juice. A Cleveland symbol for a Browns’ turnaround that started three years ago. With all that equity and still plenty ability left, Landry remains a focal point of one of the NFL’s best offenses.
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