Baker Mayfield's preparations for his third year in Cleveland haven't been any easier than his first two offseasons.
Mayfield has spent the last several months mastering a new playbook, building back chemistry with receivers and refining his own techniques from the pocket for crisp passes. Add in the unusual offseason schedule and limitations due to COVID-19, and it's safe to assume Mayfield has held a lengthy to-do list each day since arriving in Berea at the end of July.
One of the most arduous portions of the NFL calendar, however, has come to an end. Training camp reached its conclusion for the Browns on Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium, where Mayfield completed his final practice before rosters are slowly slimmed down to 53 players for Week 1.
It's been a marathon for Mayfield, but he crossed the finish line.
"I thought we did some things well," he said. "We're trying to run some plays. We did not run the ball as much with the live periods, and we're just trying some things out. There is still obviously room to improve."
Check out photos from the thirtieth day of Browns Camp
As that last sentence signifies, however, the real race is just about to begin, and the Browns still have plenty of work left to mold their offense into a unit prepared to face the Baltimore Ravens in two weeks.
Sunday marked the first day of 2020 where the Browns could practice on the grass at FirstEnergy Stadium, and the offense flashed some of its new looks from the playbook with play-action passes, a few trick plays and big runs from the backfield.
That's what Mayfield is hoping to see when the regular season begins. But each day of training camp has identified what's working, and what needs more work.
"We are at the time period where we are having to try and figure out which plays we are going to roll into Week 1 and say 'Hey, here is what we're comfortable with, here is what we're not,'" Mayfield said. "That is where we are at right now, so (I'm) definitely being more critical as of right now."
The Browns put a focus on 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills and red zone reps in their first trip to their home stadium. With the exception of some family members of players, coaches and team employees, the 67,895-seat building was devoid of fans and the normal chaos expected on Sundays.
Crowd noise was pumped in, though, and Mayfield and QB Case Keenum were frequently holding their hands to their helmets to listen to play calls. That's how most gameday environments likely will be for the offense for at least the first portion of the season, and Sunday's practice offered another small wrinkle into what the offense should prepare for on gameday.
"It was definitely different with the constant level of that crowd noise or white noise, whatever you want to call it," Mayfield said. " It was good to get out there in the stadium for some of those guys to feel like what it would be like to play with a small crowd."
In 14 days, the snaps will finally count. The months of preparation will — hopefully — pay off and the Browns will see how much of an improvement the offense has made with its top players and new additions.
For Mayfield, the grind will only continue to pick up. Training camp might be finished, but the work won't feel any easier, and there's much left to refine and enhance.
"We will look back on the film and probably be not as satisfied," Mayfield said. "There is still obviously room to improve."