Browns OTA notes: Baker reacts to Odell Beckham Jr.’s Hall of Fame comparison

A look at the highlights from Wednesday’s practice and media availability

Daryl Ruiter
May 15, 2019 - 8:37 pm

Ben Fontana - 92.3 The Fan

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Berea, OH (92.3 The Fan) – Odell Beckham Jr. got the attention of Baker Mayfield last week when the Pro Bowl receiver compared the quarterback to Brett Favre and told GQ Magazine that he felt Mayfield was a future Hall of Famer in the making.

“Brett Favre was my favorite quarterback growing up, so it got me a little fired up,” Mayfield said Wednesday. “If you don’t have the mentality that you want to be the best to ever play, then I think you are doing it for the wrong reasons. People can blow it out of context – whatever they want. He is just excited to be here, excited to get to work and start something new.”

Mayfield led the Browns to seven victories as a rookie while throwing 27 touchdown passes to set a new NFL rookie record for QBs in 2018. To put the feat into perspective, the Browns scored 27 TDs as a team during their 0-16 2017 campaign.

He enters his second season as the undisputed starter and franchise quarterback going forward, a much different situation than the one he went through as a rookie where he was buried with the second-team offense and didn’t get a single first-team snap in training camp.

“It is definitely a lot different position mentality wise being the vocal guy here now, and it is a big difference from now to last year,” Mayfield said. “It is a great difference to be able to be that guy that people are looking at during OTAs and during meeting and stuff like that. That is important to me.”

Mayfield is a star on the rise and that was evidenced by his inclusion in the NFL’s 100 Super Bowl commercial which saw Patriots quarterback Tom Brady playfully hand him his Super Bowl rings to hold and then hanging at the Kentucky Derby with Brady and several other luminaries.

“Just being around the greatest of all time is obviously an honor to be around him and how he is with his teammates, the guys he played with in the past, how they speak so highly of him,” Mayfield said. “You don’t really talk about football in those situations, but how he treats everybody and how he handles himself is just some of the better examples of how to go through life. He does it all right.”

Highlights – Cornerback TJ Carrie picked off Mayfield in 7-on-7s. Second-round pick Greedy Williams had a strong day, especially in one-on-ones, including a breakup of a pass to Antonio Callaway. Jermaine Whitehead got extended look with the first-team defense as the nickel. With Jarvis Landry, Beckham and Rashard Higgins unavailable, Mayfield’s top receivers were Callaway and Damion Ratley. Receiver Dorian Baker made the catch of the day on a deep ball over cornerback Jhavonte Dean.

Most improved? – Callaway earned some praise after practice.

“I think I can speak for a few people, we have been very pleasantly and very happy with how he came back from the offseason ready to go,” Mayfield said. “Just how quick he is, and you can tell he has been working on his craft. That is very exciting to see that. You bring in a guy like Odell and you re-sign some guys, and he is going to try and compete with them. That is the most important part. Competition brings out the best in them and Callaway is doing that.”

Kitchens also has seen an improvement in the receiver who enters his second season.

“He has added some explosiveness,” Kitchens said. “He has been catching the ball really well. He is doing a good job. Just like everybody else, he has to continue. It is what can you do for me tomorrow, not today. Today is over.”

Kick me – The kicking competition between incumbent Greg Joseph and fifth-round pick Austin Seibert appears off to an inglorious start.

Both missed kicks during a team period and they struggled to consistently split the uprights all afternoon. They were wide often and scraped paint or bounced balls off the uprights during individual tries with just a snap and hold and no defensive pressure.  

Sidelined – Higgins and Landry watched practice on the field because of undisclosed injuries while receivers Jaelen Strong and Ishmael Hyman, cornerbacks Juston Burris and Donnie Lewis Jr., defensive end Jarrell Owens and defensive tackle Brian Price spent time on the bikes and working with trainers.

Giving back – The Berea Midpark football team got to watch Wednesday’s OTA session as VIPs from the sideline before receiving a surprise after practice - $25,000 worth of new football helmets through the HELMETS program which is a collaboration between the Browns, University Hospitals, Xenith helmets and the Ohio Lottery.

Kitchens along with the help of Landry, linebacker Joe Schobert and left guard Joel Bitonio made the presentation.

Over the last five years the Browns, with the help of corporate partners, have made over $400,000 in helmet donations to needy northeast Ohio schools and football programs. Barberton High School was selected Wednesday as the recipients of the next donation.

Home again – Former Browns linebacker Jamie Collins will sign with the New England Patriots according to multiple reports.

The Browns acquired Collins in 2016 from New England and gave him a four-year, $50 million extension with $26 million guaranteed in the 2017 offseason.

After underperforming last season, Collins was cut in February.