Browns OC Alex Van Pelt: Baker Mayfield has made big strides

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Quarterback Baker Mayfield took a significant step forward in his development last season, leading the Browns to their first postseason victory since 1994.

Cleveland appears prepared to give Mayfield a lucrative contract extension to keep him around the franchise long-term. But that hasn’t happened yet, with the 2018 No. 1 overall pick under contract through 2022 after the Browns picked up his fifth-year option.

Because of that, Mayfield could play himself into more money if he shows more improvement in 2021.

Cleveland offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt said this week he’s noticed significant progress from the young QB, particularly from Mayfield’s offseason training program.

“It shows up in his quickness and his conditioning to go through all the drill work and not be winded. He is in a really good place. His footwork right now has improved over last year,” Van Pelt said, via Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal. “You think about last year of having to learn the footwork as opposed to this year being able to refine it. He has made leaps and bounds in that way. Especially under center with what we ask him to do in the drop-back game from under center, he has made big strides.”

The other aspect of Mayfield’s development that should come in handy this season is his greater comfort with the offensive system. It’s the first time in Mayfield’s pro career that he’ll have the same playbook and play-caller for consecutive seasons.

“Just a fuller understanding of what we are trying to accomplish on offense, and then just taking what he did the end of the season last year and then rolling that over into this season,” Van Pelt said. “That is our mentality. It starts with turnovers — we do not turn the ball over. He made great strides at the end of the year with that. Just carrying that over and keeping that mindset — protect the football and protect the team.”

After throwing for 21 interceptions in 2019, Mayfield finished 2020 with 3,563 yards, 26 touchdowns, and just eight interceptions. If he can improve on those numbers again, Mayfield will cash in with his second contract.

Browns OC Alex Van Pelt: Baker Mayfield has made big strides originally appeared on Pro Football Talk