Jarvis Landry Was Infinitely More Likable Than Baker Mayfield in 'Hard Knocks'

Jarvis Landry Was Infinitely More Likable Than Baker Mayfield in 'Hard Knocks'

NFL

Jarvis Landry Was Infinitely More Likable Than Baker Mayfield in 'Hard Knocks'

There were a few things to like about Baker Mayfield during the first episode of HBO’s “Hard Knocks.” But there was so much more to like about Jarvis Landry.

The Cleveland Browns receiver was set up by the showrunners to be the most likable character, not only because of his talent but also his persona. It’s so easy to like Landry, whose mentality upended the status quo of the Browns’ losing franchise during one of the receiver meetings.

Landry delivered an epic and exasperated speech. The veteran receiver seemed done with his position-mates taking off practices with injuries Landry seemed to think were fake.

“I don’t know what’s been going on here, but if you’re not hurting — like if your hamstring ain’t falling off the [expletive] bone, if your leg ain’t broke — you should be [expletive] practicing. That [expletive] is contagious and that [expletive] is contagious as [expletive]. And that [expletive] ain’t going to be in this room. That [expletive] has been here in the past, and the past is what it is. That [expletive] is over with here, bro.

“If you can practice, [expletive] practice. Ain’t nobody going to get better on the [expletive] sideline if you ain’t [expletive] hurt. … Because you make other people work [expletive] harder and put them at risk of getting hurt because you don’t want to [expletive] practice because you’re being a [expletive]. … I’m hurt and I’m tired just like everybody in this [expletive]. But I ain’t taking no [expletive] days off because I can’t be [expletive] bred that way. That better be the attitude all the [expletive] time. All that weak [expletive] don’t [expletive] live here no more. That don’t exist. That’s contagious, bro.”

Landy’s message comes in the same episode where the coaches make it clear: the Browns need to get tougher if they’re going to win a game in 2018, something they couldn’t do in 2017.

Landry and the coaches are on the same page. Mayfield, meanwhile, hasn’t gotten there yet.

The rookie quarterback got challenged by his coach Hue Jackson, and didn’t seem to rise to the occasion. Jackson approached Mayfield one morning at the start of practice to see when he woke up. Mayfield tried to dodge the question, but eventually explained he tends to get to the facility two hours before practice.

“You ever come in with your boy, [Tyrod Taylor],” Jackson asked.

Taylor is the veteran who Mayfield intends to beat in the quarterback competition. (During the episode, Landry touts Taylor for working tirelessly at every hour of the day by showing up first and leaving last.)

“He does his own little workouts in the morning,” Mayfield responded.

“Where’s your core workout in the morning? You start starting your career now. It’s a competition. Everything you do, baby. You know how they do it. Why not?” Jackson asked.

Mayfield walked away without a comment.

I repeat: The first-overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft was asked to work harder. And he had no answer but to walk away.

During the same week, Landry screamed at his teammates to work harder, to stop quitting on each other. The skeptics might feel the whole thing is a bit indulgent for Landry, who gets a highlight reel of his one-handed catches in the middle of the episode. But then Landry managed an incredible one-handed catch in practice for a touchdown. Even general manager John Dorsey couldn’t help but celebrate the play. Landry lived up to the hype. He brought work ethic. He brought leadership and then, most importantly, he brought production.

The show highlighted a nice drive by Mayfield where he demonstrated strong leadership and execution with the second team offense. But he was still running with the second team. Taylor, the man reporting to work earlier than Mayfield, was running with the No. 1 offense. Mayfield is still figuring out how to be a professional — and, frankly, an adult. That’s fair. He’s 23 years old.

Landry, meanwhile, has it figured out. He’s the hero the Browns deserve. He’s the one they so desperately need.

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