Odell Beckham Jr. Persecuted by NFL

In my previous post, I put forth a theory that the NFL was out to get Odell Beckham Jr. In the very next game, this happened:

So, we had a DB blatantly pulling on OBJ’s jersey, and a ref looking right at it, and he didn’t throw a flag.

I couldn’t ask for better evidence.

But, you might ask: OBJ scored a touchdown earlier in the game, right? Yes, he did, and he will score more. However, his job is much harder now. Not only does he need to achieve separation, but he has to achieve extra-special separation in order to stay out of grabbing range. OBJ’s touchdowns were cut in half during that game, and Baker Mayfield’s stats took a hit too.

Do all the DBs in the NFL know that they can grab OBJ at will? Maybe not. When word spreads, OBJ’s job will get even harder.

OBJ complained vociferously to the ref, to no avail. Note to Odell: there will be more frustration in your future unless you make peace with the league.

Note: Congratulations to Browns’ rookie HC Kevin Stefanski on his first victory as a head coach. True, it was against the worst team in the league, but Joe Burrow and the Bengals kept coming, and a lesser coach could have lost that game.

Note: the above incident took place during the Browns vs. Bengals Thursday Night Football game on September 17, 2002.

Why Odell Beckham Jr. is as Good as Done in the NFL

Odell Beckham Jr. has a history of butting heads with the NFL; maybe one too many times. For example, here is how OBJ responded when he was fined for wearing non-regulation pants during a game last year:

“They feel the need to fine me for some pants that cost probably six cents to make, and we’re getting fined $15,000. They’re just finding a way to pull the money back from the players.”

Everything OBJ said there was just plain stupid, but that last thing; that’s the problem. Does OBJ really think he can say things like that and not get any blow-back? Apparently, he does. But he is sadly mistaken. In fact, the NFL can easily damage his career because OBJ plays a vulnerable position.

The NFL passing game is one of precision and timing. If a defensive back can hold a receiver just a little bit, and delay his arrival at the spot where the ball is being thrown to, he can break up the play. It doesn’t take much, and if the referees, who, it turns out, work for the NFL, are instructed to give the DBs a little “latitude” to hold onto OBJ, then he is going to have a hard time running his routes with the necessary precision. I believe we saw a fresh example of this during the Browns’ game against the Ravens on Sunday (9/13/2020).

This has been going on for a while now, and was why Odell threw a punch at Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey during the game in Week 4 of 2019. Humphrey was cheating like crazy, and the refs were letting him. But this doesn’t just affect Odell’s stats, it also drags down Baker Mayfield’s numbers. In fact, the way to “fix” Baker is to ditch Odell.

Odell is damaged goods. The league has it in for him. He should be benched, traded, or cut unless he can mend fences with the NFL. What would that look like? Odell should ask for a meeting with the league, apologize for his past remarks, and pledge to be a model player going forward. He should even sip a glass of milk during the meeting to show how wholesome he will be.

What are the chances of the hyper narcissist Odell doing that?

Zero.

So, I think he is done in the NFL. He might try his luck with the CFL, get a fresh start, turn over a new leaf, etc.

Note: as I was writing this today, a burst of anti-Odell sentiment hit the Browns scene. It seems that the pass Odell dropped on third-and-two during Sunday’s game against the Ravens has infuriated many Browns fans who are now calling for his head. To that, I say: join the party. I turned against Odell back on April 28, 2020 when I published:

Rashard Higgins Mystery Solved

And in May, I wrote two more pieces:

How Beckham Broke the Browns

Odell Beckham Jr. is an Overrated Distraction

I predicted that Odell’s lack of chemistry with Baker would continue into the 2020 season, and I was proven right, emphatically, in the very first game.

Today, everybody knows that the grand Baker/Odell experiment has failed, and that change is needed. Coach Stefanski informed us last week that Kareem Hunt would be “spelling” Nick Chubb. Why not some spelling for Odell? Why not give half of his snaps to Rashard Higgins? Then Odell could indulge in a few extra IV’s. Speaking of which, nobody needs an IV. If a muscle cramps up, all you need is one of those little salt packets and your muscle will be fine in a couple of minutes.

And finally, during an interview today, Odell was asked what could be done to improve his chemistry with Baker, and he answered: more game reps. A couple minutes later he was complaining that he was being unfairly criticized for always wanting the ball – when he had just demanded more balls earlier in the same interview!

Odell isn’t a bad football player. We have seen him out in front, blocking for Chubb on many occasions, and even making the occasional catch. Even the dropped pass mentioned above was probably from Odell being too eager to make a big play, and turning his eyes up-field too early. But I just don’t think that Odell is a chemistry kind of guy. So, while all of this pressure being put on Odell & Baker this week might cause them to suddenly try harder and finally gel, I just don’t think it will happen. It would be amazing if it did, but I’m not holding my breath.

Stefanski Personality Flaws?

By all accounts, the Browns’ beefed-up management and coaching are far superior to what the organization had for the 2019 season. Browns fans should be stoked to have Andrew Berry at GM and Kevin Stefanski at head coach. I certainly am. But we also have to keep in mind that Stefanski is a rookie, just like Freddie Kitchens was last year.

Now, you are probably thinking that I am a maniac for even mentioning Kitchens in the same sentence as Stefanski, and you might be right, but hear me out.

Like Stefanski, Kitchens was seen as a rising-star when he was named head coach of the Browns. But once Kitchens had the reigns, a personality flaw reared its ugly head. Perhaps like me, you were baffled when Dontrell Hilliard scored the first touchdown of the season against the Titans:

Why didn’t Nick Chubb get the carry? Nothing against Hilliard, but Chubb is the man, no? This had me baffled for a long time – until later in the season when we saw Kitchens sidelining other fan-favorites like Rashard Higgins and David Njoku. Browns fans were also positively drooling to see Kareem Hunt in the same backfield with Chubb after Hunt came off of his suspension. But after the first few games with Hunt ready to play, fans were disappointment to see him standing on the sidelines for way too many plays.

And perhaps worst of all, when Chubb was battling with Derick Henry for the rushing title, Kitchens gave Chubb a season-low 13 carries in the final game against the Bengals allowing Henry to take the title. It’s hard to see that as anything but pure maliciousness. At the time, everybody knew Freddie was going to be fired, and none of players were sticking up for him – except Chubb. Chubb stated flat-out that he supported the coach: “I like Freddie, he’s my guy,” and that tells me that he really wanted that title, but Kitchens stabbed him, and his fans, in the back.

What was Kitchens’ thinking when he put Hilliard in for that first touchdown? Maybe something like this:

“I am the star of this team, and it makes no difference if it is Chubb or Hilliard carrying the ball. It is my genius play-calling that scores the touchdown, not a mere player.”

Who could have predicted that Kitchens would flat-out persecute the players who contributed to the magic of the second half of the 2018 season?

Nobody.

Because Kitchens was a rookie.

Hence my concern for Stefanski who has never served as a head coach – even for a Pop Warner team. Will some fatal personality flaw of Stefanski’s come into view once the season begins? I don’t think so, but head-coaching in the NFL is a rather challenging job. So, fans should be vigilant, watching the coach just as intently as Jedrick Wills trying to learn his new position. By all means, raise your voice if you see something that doesn’t seem quite right.

Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a minor-league system where NFL teams could train-up coaches? And a combine for coaches? And a draft?