Last week, Joe Thomas suggested that Rashard Higgins could be the deep threat that the Browns allegedly need to replace Odell Beckham, Jr. Then, in the very next game, this happened:
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) November 22, 2020
That was a 43-yard bomb. And with a tiny bit more precision on the throw, Higgins would have probably scored.
Did Joe Thomas nail that, or what? Don’t forget, it was Thomas who selected (unofficially) Jedrick Wills as the Browns’ first pick in the 2020 draft. And it appears that he knows about other positions beyond the o-line.
Baker also hit Khadarel Hodge for a 42-yarder. And both bombs were launched in heavy rain.
In case you haven’t noticed, the Browns are 3-1 without OBJ. And that projects out to 12-4, a record for which any Browns fan would gladly ditch OBJ. Baker has also not thrown an interception since that last one where OBJ got hurt.
Coincidence? I don’t think so. Like I have been saying for a long time, the way you fix Baker is to ditch OBJ. The last three games were played in monsoon-like conditions, so I am looking forward to see how Baker does in sunny Jacksonville this week.
Now, look again at the video above and notice how much separation Hig had on Eagles CB Avonte Maddox, who is faster than OBJ. With a 4.39s 40-yard dash time, Maddox is considerably faster than Hig who runs a 4.64, and yet Hig still beat him. How is that possible?
Well, according to Paul DePodesta’s analytics, it’s not. And that’s why (I believe) Hig rode the bench for most of this season and nearly all of 2019.
But Hig did indeed beat Maddox. If you look at Hig’s route here, it looks like Maddox was expecting him to head for the sideline, and when Hig turned to the middle, it was too late. Maddox’s superior speed didn’t help him because Hig is wily, and knows how to get open.
So, considering how the Browns are winning, how well Baker is playing, and how he is hitting Hig & Hodge deep, I think we can declare the whole “replace OBJ” issue as settled. And instead of wasting resources on bringing in another prima-donna speedster to badger Baker for the ball, we can think about getting more help on defense where the team actually needs it.
On another subject…as fun as it is to watch Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb hurdle tacklers, Coach Stump should discourage them from doing so.
Here is what Tony Dorsett had to say on the subject:
“That’s one thing that I don’t like. When you get airborne, you’re at the mercy of the hit, and sometimes you can’t protect yourself.”
In the video below, we see an example of what can happen. This kid was miraculously unhurt, but he could have easily snapped his spine. This is Bijan Robinson of the Texas Longhorns:
Bijan Robinson takes a nasty spill trying to hurdle a defender.
— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) September 26, 2020
Olympic high hurdles are 3.5 feet tall; NFL players are considerably taller. So, the math is working against you. Now, if you are on the goal-line, and want to jump over the d-line to get into the end zone, that’s a little different because there are bodies below you that reduce the height of your drop. So, that looks less risky to me. In any case, injuries in the NFL are far too common as it is, and even players like Kareem Hunt who think they are indestructible should heed the advice of the legendary Dorsett.