Training Camp Buzz: Beckham calls Browns 'AAU team'

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  • By Adam Maya NFL.com
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The 2019 regular season is just around the corner, and NFL Network has you covered with wall-to-wall training camp coverage each day starting at 10 a.m. ET. Follow along here for some of the best sights, sounds and buzzy moments from "Inside Training Camp Live".

» They say a quarterback's best friend is a good running game. Or is it a good offensive line? Or a good defense?

Whatever the case, Baker Mayfield, despite showing he's not shy about calling out teammates, is quickly forging a close connection with his new receiver.

Take the play below for example.

Dynamic catches from one Odell Beckham have been a staple of Cleveland Browns training camp. OBJ and Mayfield are just getting started, of course.

"Everything takes time," Beckham told reporters following Friday's practice. "Everything that's great comes with patience and takes time. We're still developing. The best part about it it's training camp. It's not the real season right now. We're just trying to all get on the same page, get everything down."

Beckham likened the Browns' offense and its many weapons to "being on an AAU team," while noting he's been inspired to make more plays as he watches his peers practice at a high level. He also shot down the idea that quarterback-wide receiver rapport is "overrated" but said he's not one to direct Mayfield on how to work with him.

"I just tell him do what he does," Beckham explained. "There's a reason he was the first pick, there's a reason he won the Heisman, there's a reason he led Oklahoma to all those great seasons. I just let him tell me what he thinks I should do and I'm just going to do that, and he's going to put it where it needs to be."

Trust is a mark of a good relationship.

» Tom Brady turns 42 on Saturday. With the Patriots pausing training camp for a trip to Canton, Ohio for the Hall of Fame ceremonies -- longtime Pats cornerback Ty Law is among the inductees -- New England serenaded their future HOF quarterback by singing "Happy Birthday" at Friday's practice, per ESPN.com.

Special teams savant Matthew Slater delivered a different gift to his teammate of 12 years, telling him "42 is the new 25." When Brady turned 25, he was preparing to defend a Super Bowl title won against the Rams. Some things never change.

»Daniel Jones is set to make his NFL debut on Thursday in a preseason opener against the Jets. It could be a pivotal performance for the rookie who's been tabbed as the heir apparent to Eli Manning yet is simultaneously competing against the Giants' longtime franchise QB. Jones says Manning is as good of a teammate as he's been a player.

It's been a huge help for me to have someone like that who's literally seen it all, who's done it for as long as he has as well as he has, and just being to ask questions, bounce ideas off of," Jones said on Inside Training Camp Live. "Being able to hear his insight, his experience has been really helpful."

Once upon a time, Manning was in Jones' shoes, so he knows the value of his input for the young signal-caller. Without so much as a rough timetable for when Big Blue might turn to Jones, the No. 6 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft said he's soaking up all that he can while he and Manning reside on the same depth chart.

"It's a unique situation in that the guy you're sharing the room with is a future Hall of Famer, is a guy who's had that much success and there's that much to learn," Jones said. "I think I'm lucky to be in this situation and it's worked out well for me. So whatever the plan is, I trust it, I'm looking forward to doing what I can this year to help our team, whatever that is. But I think it's a special opportunity for me to be in that room, so I'm appreciating that."

» As everyone knows, Michael Thomas became the league's highest-paid wide receiver this week when he signed a $100 million deal. Just don't expect the Saints star to cash in and get complacent. Thomas said the onus is now on him to live up to the large contract.

"Some people get it confused, like they say, I've already earned it," Thomas said on Inside Training Camp Live. "You haven't earned anything. I feel like from my standpoint, you haven't earned it until it's in my account with my name. So I have to keep on going out here ... and I have to play out my deal and I have to keep doing what I've been doing."

That's got to be music to Who Dat Nation's ears. Even more soothing would be a championship. It's understandably on the minds of many in New Orleans after two heartbreaking playoff losses. Thomas has a special gift in mind if the Saints make it to Miami in February.

"I'll buy my whole family tickets to the Super Bowl," Thomas said. "That's what ill spend my first check on."

How far the Saints ultimately go will in part be determined by running back Alvin Kamara. Sean Payton was asked on Inside Training Camp Live what his all-purpose back's role will be now that Mark Ingram is no longer part of the equation. Payton said the fact Kamara can do a bit of everything is a "good problem to have." But it doesn't mean he'll ask him to do everything.

The two-time Pro Bowler averaged a hair under 13 carries per game last season with 5.4 receptions. Payton intimated that Ingram's departure won't necessarily result in a significantly bigger load for his third-year back.

"His role is going to be significant for us and I think (Latavaius) Murray and whoever else is going to be playing running back for us, that's going to be important," Payton said. "We don't want to just put him in there for X number of plays, I'm talking about Alvin, and then lose some long-term gains because of attrition. ...

"Your coaching nature is to get the best players on the field, but we do have to find -- I think we've got a pretty good idea what Latavius does well, he's a big, slash downhill runner, he's powerful -- and so then try to have those players do the things that they do well."

» Plenty of practices still remain at training camp and the season is still roughly a month away. Nonetheless, as of Friday, No. 1 overall pick Kyler Murray is QB1 in Arizona.

The Cardinals released their first depth chart and, as expected, Murray is slotted as the starting quarterback.

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