OBJ fanbois remind me of the Black Knight character in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
The last limb of the metaphorical OBJ Knight was cut off by Browns receivers coach, Chad O’Shea, two months ago when he took OBJ to the woodshed. See what I wrote back on May 14, 2021.
One such limbless OBJ Knight is Brett Kollmann who obviously didn’t get the O’Shea memo. In a video titled: “The Odell Beckham Jr. Narrative Makes No Sense” Kollmann rolls out a bunch of lame excuses for OBJ’s poor performance in Cleveland. Even though OBJ’s route-running has already been retooled from the ground up, I feel a duty to attempt to deprogram these thralls out of their cult of personality so that they may move on to more productive lives.
The first argument Kollmann defends OBJ with is that “correlation does not equal causation.” And just because Baker’s stats suffer when Beckham is on the field doesn’t prove that it’s OBJ’s fault. But sometimes a correlation does reveal a causation. In fact, correlations should be looked at as clues that might lead you to a valuable causation. And in this case, there is plenty of causation. That’s why the Browns’ expert coaches have ruled against OBJ. He has been weighed, measured, and found wanting.
Kollmann’s second argument is this:
“Believe it or not, this offense was not designed around getting volume opportunities to Odell Beckham. It was designed around using the threat of Odell to give wide-open opportunities to basically every other skill-position player on the roster.”
But why was that done? Answer: Stefanski was aware of the 2019 shit-show and had to come up with a way to work around the hideous Baker-Beckham duo. Using OBJ as a decoy instead of a receiver was one of the solutions deployed. Running a Kubiak-Shanahan system, and making Baker a game-manager QB, was another.
Kollmann’s third argument is that Baker did better without Beckham on the field in the second half of the season because the whole team had gotten better as the season went on. But we know that isn’t the case. In reality, it only took 12 minutes and 24 seconds after OBJ got injured for Baker to light the Bengals’ fur on fire. (See my time-line here.) According to NFL NextGen Stats, the odds against Mayfield completing 22 straight passes were 19,062 to 1.
It was no accident. Baker transformed almost instantaneously after he was free of the OBJ albatross.
Kollmann claims that OBJ could not possibly be the problem because:
“Football, the most complicated team sport in the world does not work that way. It never has been, and it never, ever will be that simple…”
True, football is indeed complicated, and it is rare when a single player, no matter how talented, can change the fate of a team. However, there is a reason why QBs get paid so much more money than other players: they have an outsized impact on the team. Receivers are the second-highest paid players because the QB needs talent to throw to.
But OBJ is no ordinary receiver. He is a megastar, far more popular than Baker off the field. And he has used his star-power to deploy a reality-distortion field around the Browns offense. See what I wrote here. So, the Browns are a special case when it comes down to a single player dramatically discombobulating the offense.
Kollmann puts his hopes in the fact that Baker and his receivers worked on their chemistry over the summer at Camp Mayfield in Texas:
“The only thing – and I mean literally THE ONLY THING – holding the Browns’ offense back in the first half of last year was themselves. They had all the talent in the world, but they just didn’t have the chemistry to make that talent work efficiently.”
This is a common argument from OBJ fanbois. The problem is that nobody actually knows how to create chemistry, and I’m pretty sure that hanging out together off the field isn’t going to do it. The only thing that seems to work is a massive number of practice reps, which OBJ could not do this off-season because he was still rehabbing his knee. So, OBJ fanbois need to brace for more suck on the chemistry front this year.
Of course, if you really wanted chemistry, Landry, Higgins and Njoku would be starters. And Donovan Peoples-Jones would be your #3 WR. DPJ has shown signs of developing chemistry with Baker; and he is doing it with far fewer reps than OBJ has done with Baker. In fact, DPJ has surpassed OBJ on the chemistry front. If OBJ goes back to running predictable routes, and Baker can finally find him, there is a chance for them to develop chemistry. But as far as we know, as of today, OBJ & Baker have no chemistry whatsoever and likely never will. The same goes for Hooper, though he has tried much harder than OBJ. Sometimes it just doesn’t happen. But again, the Browns do not lack chemistry! All they have to do is fucking deploy it!
In other OBJ Cult news, Mary Kay Cabot still thinks OBJ should be able to freelance his routes. Here’s what she wrote back here:
“In addition to building their friendship off the field, the two will have to compromise on the field. Mayfield likes his receivers to run precise routes so he can deliver the ball on a dime. Beckham, often double-teamed, freelances to get open, using every bit of his artistry and athleticism, and expects the QB to find him. This season, in addition to communicating about route details, ball placement and the like, they’ll need to come each other’s way a bit. It will help that both know the offense a lot better, but Mayfield will sometimes have to allow Beckham the freedom to get open — even though offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt is on Team Precise Routes — and Beckham will have to sometimes be more disciplined in this timing offense.”
Compromise? What the hell no! This isn’t the NBA where players have much more power than NFL players. Didn’t you see the QB rebellion led by Aaron Rodgers this summer? He lost. The Browns have pissed away half of their Super Bowl window already by letting OBJ discombobulate Baker. Now, it’s time for Baker to be THE MAN and put OBJ on a short leash.
This is why I am for shedding OBJ instead of trying to rehab him: the stakes are just too high. The marvelous “point guard” style of play that we saw from Baker as he fed the ball to whoever was open just doesn’t have room for a psychologically disruptive prima-donna WR like OBJ.
If the higher-ups insist on keeping OBJ, the team has two lines of defense. First, we must pray for Coach O’Shea to succeed with his rehabilitation of OBJ’s route-running. Second, Baker has to acquire the skill of being psychologically impervious to any mental manipulation from OBJ. An example is sulky body-language when OBJ feels like he isn’t getting the ball enough. Baker needs to totally ignore that.
So, that is what we Browns fans need to hope for. As for you limbless Black Knights, instead of simply slobbering over OBJ, recognize that Baker is THE MAN, and that OBJ should run his routes to the letter and not try to influence Baker to get more targets.
P.S. The new “point guard” style that we saw Baker running during the second half of last season was not new. That’s how he played during his rookie year in 2018 when he set the NFL record for most TD passes by a rookie. He stopped playing like that when OBJ arrived.