There was reportedly plenty of good-natured trash talk between Mayfield and Peppers during the joint practice in Berea.
“One would’ve been a QB hit, it was a three-step [drop], I dipped under [Browns right tackle Jack] Conklin, I think,” Peppers said after practice when asked about their banter. “Me and Baker used to always go back and forth, just ball stuff – he tells me he’s going to go 80 percent [completion in practice], I tell him he can’t see over the line. Just things like that, it’s just good ball and it’s good to be on the road with the team, man for man, competing against another team, I love it.”
Mayfield is never one to back down from some trash talk on the field, so he likely embraced getting some extra motivation from peppers.
Peppers started 29 games through his first two seasons with the Browns, although his rookie year was spent as part of Cleveland’s 0-16 squad. A lot has changed since he donned the orange and brown, with Cleveland now being touted as a Super Bowl contender and Peppers finding a significant role in the Giants’ defense.
Peppers — who was a Heisman finalist alongside Mayfield in 2016 — started 14 games last season, collecting a career-high 91 tackles, 11 passes defended and 2.5 sacks. He also had one interception.
Peppers previously said he wasn’t too eager to see his former team, although he seems to be having a good time playing against some familiar faces.
“You know, not really,” Peppers said when asked about facing the Browns. “It will just be nice to bang and compete against someone other than your own teammates. I think we have those guys and New England, so I’m going into them both the same way, gotta work on my technique, my fundamentals against other good players who are not your teammates. That’ll add to the competition aspect of it, but that’s about it.”
Browns, Giants Keeping Their Cool During Joint Practices
While Mayfield and Peppers traded some good-natured barbs, joint practices usually involve some tensions rising and occasionally physical altercations. The Giants had an incident earlier in camp where they fought each other but stressed that they weren’t in Cleveland to brawl or get chippy.
“We didn’t fly across the country to get into a fistfight,” Giants head coach Joe Judge told reporters on Thursday.
Browns skipper Kevin Stefanski was appreciative of the work his team was able to get in against the Giants, who they’ll face on Sunday.
“Got some good work in there with the Giants,” Stefanski said. “Really thought it was competitive. The guys understood that we are here to get some work done. I thought on both sides, we did that. Really good situational periods for special teams, for offense and for defense. We will link up tomorrow, get another good workday in, take a day off and then play the Giants on Sunday.”
David Njoku Has Big Day Against the Giants
A pleasant surprise for the Browns has been tight end David Njoku, who had what might have been his best day of camp with the Giants in town. Njoku racked up catches in 11-on-11 drills and caught a touchdown from Mayfield.
Browns reporter Mary Kay Cabot wrote that Njoku “has been the best tight end in camp so far,” giving him the edge over high-paid starter Austin Hooper.
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