Browns Had Surprise Guest at Baker Mayfield’s Texas Workouts

Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield.

The Cleveland Browns assembled in Texas this offseason, with quarterback Baker Mayfield putting the invite out to his teammates to meet up for some socially distanced workouts.

But Mayfield did not invite just pass catchers like Austin Hooper, Rashard Higgins and David Njoku. The former No. 1 overall pick also invited backup quarterback Case Keenum for the workouts, letting the newly-signed veteran gain some familiarity with his new teammates and giving Mayfield a chance to pick his brain.

“He is a great guy and a great veteran guy to have in the room,” Mayfield said Wednesday during a Zoom conference call with beat reporters.

Keenum is not a regular backup QB despite his journeyman-like resume, his three-year, $18 million contract evidence of that. Keenum has 62 starts to his name and some playoff experience to boot.

Baker Mayfield Embracing Case Keenum’s Experience

GettyBrowns QB Case Keenum.

The Browns will be Keenum’s fifth team in five seasons. He played most recently for the Washington Redskins, starting eight games before the reins were handed over to Dwayne Haskins. Keenum went 1-7 in his starts, passing for 1,707 yards, 11 touchdowns and five interceptions.

Previously, Keenum started 30 games over two seasons before landing in Washington with the Denver Broncos and Minnesota Vikings.

Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski was Keenum’s position coach in Minnesota. Under his direction, Keenum had one of his best seasons, going 12-4 as the Vikings’ starter in 2017. He completed 67.6 percent of his passes with 22 touchdowns, seven interceptions and a 98.3 passer rating. Mayfield used the opportunity to workout with Keenum to gain some knowledge on the team’s new offense.

“I think that is a huge part of why I was looking forward to being around Case was that he was in this system so I can hear his thoughts on how it is taught and how he reads it. He has been in a lot of systems, as well, and it has not been an excuse for him,” Mayfield said. “Just hearing how he visualizes certain things and certain reads has been great.”

Keenum spoke to reporters earlier this offseason and said he felt welcomed by Mayfield to Cleveland.

“Baker reached out as soon as the news broke, which really meant a lot to me,” Keenum said, per the Browns site. “I’ve got a lot of respect for him for what he’s done on the field and off the field, too. First and foremost, I know my role coming in. That’s another great positive for me. I’m going to be ready to play. I feel like I’ve played at a high level for the last three years.”

Baker Mayfield Working on Footwork Ahead of Season

GettyBrowns quarterback Baker Mayfield.

Browns new offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt said one of the biggest things he wanted to work on Mayfield’s footwork. It’s something Mayfield has taken to heart and he worked on it when he gathered with teammates earlier this month.

“The big thing when he is talking about that essentially is changing my stance up in shotgun formation and putting my left foot forward, which I have never done. As you look at places he has been, (Cowboys QB) Andy Dalton did it in Cincinnati. (Packers QB) Aaron Rodgers does it in Green Bay,” Mayfield said. “It is just a different rhythm and timing. It is breaking some of the habits that I have had for a long time, but I am getting used to it. It is just about repetition to be quite honest with you. You can drill it and you can get used to it, but that is why having the guys down last week was so great, being able to actually translate that to real timing on routes.”

Last year was humbling for Mayfield, to say the least. Mayfield finished the season 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.

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