With OBJ, Rashard Higgins watching, Jarvis Landry, KhaDarel Hodge, rookie Anthony Schwartz shine on Day 2 – cleveland.com

BEREA, Ohio — Stop. Don’t read anything I’m about to say unless you’ve read Mary Kay Cabot’s fascinating piece on the Odell Beckham Jr-Baker Mayfield relationship.

There are at least four headline-worthy nuggets crafted inside her work that ESPN could use for days of content. Let’s start with this teaser. I’m only giving one because context matters, so go read.

But Beckham once wondered “what he got himself into” as a Brown. Then watching Cleveland almost beat Kansas City stung most. He thinks he could’ve made one play. A single moment that would’ve changed everything.

Sharp money says he’s right. OBJ and Mayfield must dominate this season. I’m confident they will. Largely because Mayfield and Beckham are more alike than we realize.

QB1 said something Thursday that caught my attention. “This year, I think we’ve had our backs up against the wall the two of us together,” Mayfield said. “And I think we can relate a lot on those types of things.’’

One trait that makes Baker infectious is his undefeated track record of proving others wrong. Remember, Beckham started his historic rookie season battling a hamstring injury and missing four games. After three record-setting seasons, OBJ fractured his ankle in Week 4 of the 2017 season. Next, he posted back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons before his ACL injury.

When Mayfield’s back is against the wall the masses say “he got this.. When Beckham faces adversity he responds well. His recovery reminds me of post-ACL tear Adrian Peterson. He freakishly returned in under seven months, just like Beckham.

With both Mayfield and Beckham’s backs against the wall, why bet against them? You shouldn’t. Thanks, Mary Kay for some incredible reporting. I’m sure there is more to come.

Enough about Cabot, Mayfield or Beckham, because it’s my turn to report something.

Day 2 of Cleveland Browns training camp, July 29, 2021

Cleveland Browns wide receiver KhaDarel Hodge catches a pass during day two of training camp, July 29, 2021, in Berea. John Kuntz, cleveland.com

On Thursday at Browns camp, Ellis Williams saw KhaDarel Hodge sprint behind everyone and nearly catch a 40-yard touchdown versus the No. 1 defense. Mayfield slightly overthrew him. As the second team took the field, Mayfield found Hodge walking down the sideline and spoke about the play. After a fist bump, it was on to the next drill.

That tells me first that Mayfield remains a bonafide leader. Second, Hodge remains a constant within the wide receiver room. Let’s talk about a few other pass-catchers that stood out Thursday at Day Two of training camp

Jarvis Landry continues to lead all

Ignore me rapping Drake in the top tweet and watch Landry study his teammates. A few moments later he threw his helmet on and competed. Swift high knees with an even higher tucked football. Then Landry juked left (my camera went with him) before breaking right for a routine grab.

After that, he talked with Derrick Willies. Rewatch the above video, Willies starts it.

Physically, Landry looks leaner but still sturdy. I’m noticing more quickness but perhaps that’s because I haven’t seen NFL receivers this close since last year. Regardless, he’s often talking to his teammates. Always active. Even when he’s on the sidelines, he’s present and fun to watch.

During an early skelly session (that means “shell” or no offensive or defensive linemen), Landry caught a crispy 12-yard over route. About 20 minutes later, he snagged a slant and battled safety Ronnie Harrison for the ball. Landry won by switching the ball into his left hip pocket, thus protecting it and frustrating Harrison.

Toward the end, Landry exchanged laughs with Beckham and Rashard Higgins. This seems like a trio that all hang out at Beckham’s for some off-day Warzone.

Hodge-Mayfield nearly connects on deep ball

It rocked being out there on Thursday. Though camp started a day prior, it was my first time watching pro ball since January. But had this practice taken place next week, I’d probably be writing about pure boredom. I’m grateful for my job but often watching footballers play without pads turns trivial. Parlay that with a heavy dose of run plays and it’s like, meh.

Which is why when Mayfield faked a handoff and dropped back deep, I stood on my tiptoes. Hodge lined up left. He exploded off the line and broke inside. “Post, gotta be,” I thought. Then I saw Mayfield look left. It’s a deep corner route.

“Watch out!” I yelled (to nobody). Then Hodge broke free deep. I thought he’d score, until I saw the ball in the air. “Wow, that thing is flying. Can Hodge run under this?” As the ball drew closer it became clear Hodge would have to lay out to catch it.

Once it bounced a few yards in front, it was obvious he had no chance. Still, an exciting play and one Mayfield clearly plans to learn from.

The rookie shows promise

Here is a list of Browns receivers I most enjoy watching. Beckham, Landry, Hodge, Higgins, Donovan Peoples-Jones. Stunning news, add Anthony Schwartz.

This young man looks the part. I’ll argue that Google fudges when it says he is 6 feet tall. Still, he’s a bit filled out and can run and cut. He dropped a ball during team drills, which prompted from Dan Labbe the following:

“Jarvis would have caught it.”

Under Landry’s mentorship, I bet Schwartz snags it next time.

Get the latest Browns merchandise: Here’s where you can order Cleveland Browns gear online, including jerseys, T-shirts, hoodies, hats and much more.

More Browns coverage

Walkoff thoughts after the first practice: Video

Watch OBJ in Day 1 action

Newsome II begins pursuit of a starting spot: Camp observations

Greedy Williams leaves practice with heat-related issue

Landry: 2020 was toughest year ever; ‘21 roster is best he’s been on

Fields out with new foot injury; JOK plugged in virtually: Quick hits

Garrett still eyeing DPOY, but is focused on doing what’s needed

Live updates for Wednesday, July 28

Jackson, Nelsen to enter Browns Legends Program during 2021

Training camp begins with high hopes: Crowquill

JOK: ‘I’m feeling just fine … as in zero symptoms’

Where to buy Browns throwback jerseys