You might not know it, but the great Odell Beckham Jr. could be the Brown’s #2 receiver this season. The man who once seemed destined to join the likes of Randy Moss, Jerry Rice, and Terrell Owens in the inner circle of the most elite wideouts the game has ever seen, seems to have fallen behind a bit.
And the Browns understand this.
Cleveland traded for OBJ for one reason and one reason only; to take the Browns to the Super Bowl. They splurged on other high-priced talent to surround him with and drafted Baker Mayfield first overall, hoping that he would develop a connection with Beckham that would wipe away the years of abject failures that have befallen this franchise.
It has not gone according to plan for the Browns, albeit through just one season.
Beckham Under Landry?
While Odell Beckham Jr. has always functioned as the top receiver in whatever offense he has been in, you can make the case that Jarvis Landry has supplanted him as the #1 target in Cleveland. Jarvis simply outplayed Beckham last season. As shitty as that might be for the man with the highest base salary on the team (Beckham), it’s true.
Landry bested OBJ in yards, receptions, and touchdowns in 2019. Counting stats can be deceiving (although they both played in all 16 games), so let’s look at some of their rate stats.
Landry was also the better receiver in terms of catch percentage and yards-per-catch, the latter of which is highly surprising given these players’ histories. Jarvis Landry has always been a possession receiver, averaging a mere 10.4 YPC for his career before last season. Yet, he edged out his friend and teammate in this area, 14.1 to 14. Jarvis Landry seems to have expanded his game by adding the big play to his repertoire.
Perhaps Odell Beckham Jr. just ran out of gas in 2019. This was his first time playing in all 16 games since 2016. He averaged 71.9 receiving yards per game from weeks 1-8, but saw that number dip to 57.5 from weeks 9-16. Was he just pooped? Maybe. Did the offensive scheme consciously shift towards Landry? Also a possibility. The bottom line is that the Browns went 2-6 in the first half of 2019, averaging 19 PPG, and 4-4 in the second half., averaging 22.9 PPG.
If Odell Beckham Jr. truly wants to take the Browns to the Super Bowl, perhaps it is time he accepts a role as a #2 receiver.
Talented, But Complicated
It might seem like I am being harsh on OBJ. I want to make one thing clear; he is one of the most talented players in the NFL, if not the most talented. There’s just more to him than that.
He’s made an ass of himself on several occasions during his career, causing him to be the butt of jokes centered on certain antics of his. While many players let this type of criticism roll off their backs, OBJ seems to take that shit right to the chest. This can be dangerous for a high-profile player like him. It would be best for him to simply flush these things away, but the star wideout has consistently refused to do so. Has he been productive? Objectively so. But he’s been a distraction too.
The Cleveland Browns are in win-now mode. They can ill-afford to waste seasons figuring out how to optimize their stable of offensive weapons. Odell Beckham Jr., despite his seemingly supernatural abilities, might be best suited as the Browns’ #2 receiver this season. Here’s hoping he accepts the possibility of this role.
The 2020 Browns could end up in the toilet otherwise.