Last season did not go as planned for the Cleveland Browns, stumbling to a 6-10 record after an offseason filled with hype.
Instead of competing for a Super Bowl, the Browns missed the postseason for a 17th consecutive season and cleaned house, hiring a new head coach in Kevin Stefanski and general manager in Andrew Berry.
A lot of the blame came down on quarterback Baker Mayfield, who struggled in his second season after garnering some momentum in the offseason as a possible MVP candidate.
Mayfield lit the NFL on fire in his first season, setting the rookie touchdown record with 27 in just 13 starts.
After garnering some MVP hype for his second NFL season, Mayfield finished the year with 3,827 yards, 22 touchdowns and 21 interceptions, ranking next-to-last in both passer rating (78.8) and completion percentage (59.4%) despite having both Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry at his disposal.
Jarvis Landry Blames Game Planning, Not Baker Mayfield
However, Landry doesn’t think Mayfield was the problem and came to the defense of his quarterback while on ESPN’s First Take on Tuesday.
“A lot of communication, a lot of communication — and I know that for a lot of instances throughout the year, we had a lot to do with it,” Landry said. “Protection has a lot to do with it. Guys not making plays down the field had a lot to do with it. And I’m sure that Baker would say that he missed a lot of throws or he didn’t make the right read on certain things. But I think, ultimately, a lot of things came down to game planning and how to try to attack teams.”
Jarvis Landry: Browns Lacked Identity Last Season
Despite a hip injury bothering him most of the season, Landry finished with 83 catches for 1,174 yards and six touchdowns last season — all team highs. Landry went on to make his fifth Pro Bowl.
The Browns had a massive amount of talent on offense with Landry and Beckham catching passes and running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt carrying the ground game. But Landry never felt the offense had an identity under former head coach Freddie Kitchens, who called the plays.
“I don’t think we had a true identity. I spoke about this after the season ended, right before the Super Bowl,” Landry said. “I think that that was one of the things that, for us, we never really got a chance to form an identity. So that’s kind of what happened.”
Baker Mayfield is Unquestioned Leader for Browns
Mayfield has taken some heat for his behavior off the field and some of his quotes to media members. However, Landry backed Mayfield as the team’s unquestioned leader.
“He’s the leader of our team. He’s the guy that, again, one of the most hard-working guys that I’ve been around,” Landry said. “We’ve got to do a better job, obviously, on the outside, up front and in the backfield of helping him out. That’s a lot of cases where we’ve got to do our job.”
The returning wide receivers for the Browns include Beckham, Landry, Rashard Higgins, Damion Ratley, Taywan Taylor, KhaDarel Hodge, D.J. Montgomery and J’Mon Moore. The team added return man and wide receiver JoJo Natson in free agency and drafted Donovan Peoples-Jones in the sixth round of the draft.