Expect a leaner Baker Mayfield to hit the field in 2020.
After putting on “some weight last year to bulk up,” the Browns quarterback plans to be “slimmer & faster this year,” NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday, “with an emphasis on being in better shape.”
Coming off a disappointing sophomore campaign, which was also marred by personal and professional turmoil, Mayfield, 24, was body-shamed by Twitter trolls earlier this month after a shirtless vacation photo went viral. Giants running back Saquon Barkley later defended his friend, telling TMZ, “He’s a quarterback, he’s not supposed to be shredded.”
Mayfield entered his second NFL season last fall with sky-high expectations, due in part to the addition of Odell Beckham Jr. at wide receiver. Mayfield finished the year with 22 touchdowns and 21 interceptions in a disastrous 6-10 Browns season.
Following the dismissal of first-year head coach Freddie Kitchens in late December, the Browns hired former Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski to right the ship. Stefanski has since enlisted quarterback guru Alex Van Pelt to get Mayfield back on track.
“He’s obviously a skilled player, a talented player. I love the fire and the passion in his game. It’s our job as an offensive staff to help him and make him successful,” the Browns’ new offensive coordinator said, per the Akron Beacon Journal. “The increase of interceptions, that’ll be something that’ll be a point of emphasis — making the right decisions, protecting the team and protecting the ball.”
Van Pelt previously worked with Aaron Rodgers as Green Bay’s quarterbacks coach from 2014 to early 2018. Rodgers previously endorsed Van Pelt while chastising the Packers’ decision to let him walk.