A challenge has been issued, and you can bet Baker Mayfield will accept it throughout his first training camp as the starting quarterback of the Browns.

With spring practices winding down in late May, new quarterbacks coach Ryan Lindley publicly declared Mayfield must put his stamp on the offense by speaking up and providing input about which plays should be run and how they should be executed. It'll be a work in progress when training camp opens July 25 and for the foreseeable future.

Mayfield's voice is crucial as the Browns continue to build a new system under rookie head coach Freddie Kitchens and new offensive coordinator Todd Monken, both of whom have never previously worked together.

The team went 5-3 with Kitchens diving into the role of offensive coordinator for the final eight games of last season, but Mayfield and Co. were using the playbook of Kitchens' predecessor, Todd Haley, and leaning on the help of many position coaches who have since been replaced. This year, the systems of Kitchens and noted Air Raid practitioner Monken have been merging into one. Kitchens will call the plays like he did in the last half of 2018, though Monken's presence and influence are significant, perhaps especially because of Mayfield's history in the University of Oklahoma's Air Raid attack.

Egos need to be checked at the door for the offense to evolve and reach its full potential. Kitchens and Monken ought to prioritize whatever makes Mayfield most comfortable and likeliest to succeed. If they can't agree on those definitions, compromising for the greater good is essential. Too many previous Browns coaches, including Hue Jackson and Haley, have clashed with each other.

To be clear, it's not Mayfield's job to ensure Kitchens and Monken play nice. But it is Mayfield's duty to drive their collaboration with detailed feedback about every situation in practices and games. Mayfield didn't receive the opportunity to do so from the beginning last year because the Browns were intent on starting veteran Tyrod Taylor to open the season. Jackson didn't even give Mayfield repetitions with the starters in his first NFL training camp.

This is a different world now, and it's time for Mayfield to seize control.

The responsibilities heaped upon him aren't limited to shaping the scheme, though. The importance of Mayfield leading his fellow players cannot be overstated.

When the Browns traded for superstar Odell Beckham Jr. in March, media and fans began to ask how Mayfield would manage the locker room — and huddle — as a 24-year-old.

Mayfield undoubtedly has the brash personality required to keep fellow alpha males in line, to remind Beckham and receiver Jarvis Landry their targets are secondary to winning, but the bold QB will also need to strike the right balance between guiding teammates and alienating them. His you're-either-with-us-or-against-us reaction to running back Duke Johnson's trade request won't be the right approach for every potentially combustible situation.

Mayfield appears to be fully capable of figuring it all out, and General Manager John Dorsey clearly believes he will. Dorsey drafted Mayfield first overall last year partly because of his attitude and leadership qualities.

Mayfield showed as a rookie he possesses the requisite traits of a franchise quarterback. In ProFootballFocus.com's 13 seasons of NFL grading, Mayfield earned the second-best mark for a rookie QB, trailing only Seattle Seahawks five-time Pro Bowler Russell Wilson, a third-round pick in 2012. PFF also ranked Mayfield eighth among all quarterbacks last season.

Playing 13½ games, Mayfield went 6-7 as a starter and completed 63.8 percent of his passes for 3,725 yards and an NFL single-season rookie record 27 touchdown passes with 14 interceptions for a passer rating of 93.7. He ran 39 times for 131 yards (3.4 average) and took 25 sacks.

Still, everyone knows the sport's most vital position is all-encompassing and demands more than just on-field performance.

Veteran quarterback Drew Stanton is an ideal mentor for Mayfield who's capable of assisting with the navigation of challenging locker room dynamics and a developing offense.

The main question about Stanton, though, is whether he can still play well enough to win in the event of an injury to Mayfield. Kitchens spent five seasons (2013-17) with Stanton in Arizona and has faith. Kitchens and Dorsey point to Stanton's 11-6 career record as a starter, including 9-4 with the Cardinals, as a source of optimism.

But the 35-year-old Stanton hasn't played since 2017, when he went 3-1 as a starter, so his training camp and preseason bear monitoring. He's scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in March.

The Browns have NFL journeyman Garrett Gilbert third on the depth chart. Gilbert, 28, is a friend of Mayfield who hails from the same high school, Lake Travis, in Austin, Texas. Dorsey considers Gilbert, who has appeared in one NFL regular-season game, the best player to come out of the defunct Alliance of American Football.

The bottom line is worrying a bit about the backup quarterback is a good problem for the Browns to finally have. The most pressing questions they face at the position are all about how Mayfield will handle his second NFL season, his first as the starter out of the gate.

Nate Ulrich can be reached at nulrich@thebeaconjournal.com. Read his Browns coverage at www.ohio.com/browns. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ByNateUlrich and on Facebook www.facebook.com/abj.sports.