Baker Mayfield’s first official throw as the Browns quarterback hit Jarvis Landry square in the hands. Later in the primetime matchup against the Jets, Mayfield found Landry for a snow-cone catch near the end zone and a number of other key connections in Cleveland’s first win since Christmas Eve 2016.
After an offseason in which Landry primarily worked with starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor in team drills, this was the kind of on-the-fly chemistry that allowed Landry and Mayfield to shine together throughout the rest of a memorable 2018 season.
In a wide-ranging edition of NFL Game Pass Film Session (Sign up for a free trial) with Ron Jaworski and Brian Baldinger, Landry explained how the two clicked so quickly.
“He’s a gamer,” Landry said. “He finds ways in games to make throws he doesn’t practice. He’ll get in the huddle sometimes and he’ll call the play and be like, ‘do that thing.’
“When he sees you making those tough catches and putting your body on the line, I think the trust only gets better from that point.”
Landry finished the season with a team-best 81 catches for 976 yards. His consistency was a byproduct of the countless hours he and Mayfield put in behind the scenes to get their timing as crisp as possible.
As the film breakdown showed, there were plenty of instances when Mayfield felt comfortable getting the ball out of his hands before Landry even came out of his break. It started with that first completion against the Jets -- when Mayfield didn’t flinch to pass the ball right past a linebacker’s head into the waiting arms of Landry -- and was on display on plays like the 17-yard reception Landry made early in the game against Kansas City, when the ball was in the air before Landry turned around to find it.
“These are some of the routes where we’re in training camp, we just knocked out, knocked out, knocked out,” Landry said. “I’m sure there’s Hard Knocks film of us running this route constantly over and over and over. That’s cake all day.”
A minor injury held Landry out of OTAs and minicamp but the two are expected to team up along with Odell Beckham Jr., Antonio Callaway, Rashard Higgins and more at some point during the summer before the start of training camp. A year of experience together should only make these kinds of highlight plays even crisper in 2019.
“I think the change within me is taking ownership of ‘all right, yeah, there’s some things that I haven’t seen before, some disguises, some game plans and different ways to study that I haven’t done before,’” Mayfield said in May. “Taking a first time through that last year, but now I need to take that next step. That is all behind me, move forward and get better.”
Check out the best photos of quarterback Baker Mayfield this offseason by team photographer Matt Starkey