Mixed results in Browns’ first scrimmage
Two TDs for Taylor; pick for Mayfield
Baker Mayfield had some typical rookie ups and downs. Tyrod Taylor was his steady self.
Mayfield threw his first interception in training camp while Taylor had a pair of touchdown passes to Jarvis Landry, who made a spectacular, one-handed grab on the second one, as the Browns held their annual intra-squad scrimmage Friday in front of Cleveland fans desperate to see if a team that went 0-16 last season has improved.
“There was some good, some bad,” coach Hue Jackson said of his team’s overall performance.
Same could be said of his quarterbacks.
The No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, Mayfield has been impressive so far during his first NFL camp. Although he’s expected to spend the season as Taylor’s backup, Mayfield has shown why the Browns believe he can lead them in the future.
The Heisman Trophy winner from Oklahoma took the field first and immediately led Cleveland’s second-team offense on a TD drive. He completed a 30-yard pass to C.J. Board and a 29-yarder to Devon Cajuste to set up rookie Nick Chubb’s 1-yard score.
But later, while going against the Browns’ defensive starters, Mayfield botched a handoff and was picked off by linebacker Jamie Collins, who hauled in a ball tipped at the line by defensive tackle Jamie Meder.
Mayfield also struggled toward the end of the hour-long scrimmage during a simulated goal-line situation, taking two sacks while waiting for receivers to get open.
Despite a clumsy finish, Jackson was encouraged by Mayfield’s outing.
“I am not going to say that he tapered off,” Jackson said. “What our defense does down there is tough. We are not game-planning our defense right now. He did get off to a hot start and led the team down there to score, but that is what we expect. He threw some good balls. The guy is throwing the ball extremely well, and I think that you guys see the accuracy. He had a good day.”
So did Taylor, who connected with Landry on a 26-yard TD before hooking up with the playmaker on the day’s best play — a 36-yarder that drew a huge roar from fans battling bright sunshine on one of the warmest days of camp.
During a two-minute drill, Taylor fired the ball at Landry, who reached back and snared the ball with his left hand. He celebrated by launching the ball into the stands.
“It was kind of my fault, honestly,” Landry said. “I started bending (his route) in too early and the linebacker kind of got in the way and Ty kind of had to throw around him a little bit and that made me have to reach back and catch the ball. But Ty trusts me in those situations to make those kind of plays and I can’t let him down.”
It’s the type of play Landry made routinely in Miami while making 400 catches and three Pro Bowls over the past four seasons.
Jackson isn’t surprised by anything Landry does on the field.
“He does it every day. He works at it,” Jackson said. “The guy will stay after and go to the JUGGS machine and catch anywhere from 200-300 balls. That is just how important it is to him. As you see, if the ball is anywhere around him, there is a good chance that he is going to come up with it.”