BEREA, Ohio -- Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield said Thursday that he and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. have made "huge strides" with their chemistry going into their third season together.
"When it comes down to the chemistry stuff, it's every rep matters for us, but then, just the terminology and speaking outside the building, not just about football, that goes such a long way when it comes to chemistry that trust factor," Mayfield said. "And I know he feels the same way."
Since the 2019 trade that shipped Beckham to the Browns, Mayfield and OBJ have the worst completion rate (55.6%) of any quarterback-receiving duo, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.
Last year, Beckham suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 7. From that point through Week 15, Mayfield took off, ranking third in the NFL in QBR, trailing only Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes.
Mayfield, however, has credited his late-season surge to a growing comfort with coach Kevin Stefanski's scheme, while pushing back on the narrative it had anything to do with Beckham's absence. Last year, Stefanski became the fourth head coach Mayfield had played for his first three seasons in the league.
Beckham, who had surgery last year and was a spectator as Cleveland made the playoffs for the first time since 2002, said over the weekend that his knee was "feeling great." Beckham flashed plenty of speed and explosiveness on the first day of training camp Wednesday.
"Normal people and normal athletes don't come back from an injury like that as quickly as he did," Mayfield said. "He obviously worked his tail off to get to where he's at right now."
Mayfield added that he can "play a whole lot better than last year." And that there's plenty of reason to believe that this will be the season he and Beckham finally take off together.
"Year 1, we were definitely just trying to get used to each other last year," Mayfield said. "Last year, didn't have a full season by any means because of the injury. This year, I think we've had our backs up against the wall, the two of us together, I think we can relate a lot on those types of things. But having success is always sweeter when it's not just handed to you. It's not the easy road when you hit adversity and you have to battle through it."