Odell Beckham, Jr. declined battle on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. While his teammates valiantly fought to avenge last year’s playoff loss, OBJ said: “Nah. I’m good here on the sidelines with the water-boys.”
By all accounts, OBJ is more than ready to play. So, I think he is on strike, and it’s exactly the kind of passive/aggressive strike you would expect from a hyper-narcissist diva like OBJ. He doesn’t like being tagged with these labels, but if the shoe fits…
Coach Stefanski seems to be indulging OBJ now, but it will be interesting to see how he handles the situation once he realizes what is actually happening.
I predicted this would happen. Back on July 27, 2021, I wrote:
“You heard it here first: war is brewing between the Browns and OBJ.”
When will OBJ come back? Here’s how he answered that question:
“So, whenever that is, week 1, week 17, I don’t know. Whenever we’re ready we’ll be ready.”
Why is he on strike? Because his coaches want him to run precise routes, and OBJ wants to run creative routes. The problem is that Baker can’t find OBJ on random routes, and the duo has put up terrible stats. So, the idea is to have OBJ run routes by the book, like all the other receivers, and keep Baker flying high.
At first, OBJ seemed to be with the program. But now it appears that being a diva is more important to him than being an effective receiver. Read “The OBJ Flying Circus Offense” to see why OBJ’s creative route running is such a disaster.
OBJ can end this strike whenever he wants, but he couldn’t call it a victory because he has not presented a formal list of demands. Maybe he would take the field, but just move onto the the next passive/aggressive ploy. Perhaps he won’t run his new routes at all. Or maybe he would do a piss-poor job on them.
Personally, I would love to see him hold out for the rest of the year. The Browns were #1 in total offense for Week 1 (see below), so it’s not like they need him or anything. And they have a new guy to break in. Some are calling Anthony Schwartz’s performance a breakout. I know I was surprised by how well he did. PFF gave Schwartz a 76.4 grade, which is slightly higher than OBJ’s grade from last year.
Make no mistake, the Browns are now in a power-struggle with OBJ. He is healthy, the choice to play or not is his, and he decided not to play in one of the biggest games of the year. If I were Stefanski, I would have been shopping him around from the sideline, during the game. And since OBJ is rarely in one piece, the Browns should hurry up and trade him before he gets hurt again.
Here are two quotes from Coach Stefanski about OBJ:
On Friday: “He was 50-50, questionable and just didn’t feel like he could go.”
On Sunday: “He worked out before the game and didn’t feel like he could go a significant amount, so we felt like it was the right thing to do to keep him inactive.”
Note: Keep in mind that Stefanski gave the decision to OBJ, and that means that the Browns’ medical staff have cleared him.
Note: the Browns had 457 yards of total offense; more than anybody except the Raiders who had 491. However, I counted 110 yards for the Raiders in overtime, so in regulation time the Browns were still the most potent offense in the league. Also, if you look down the list, you will see the Chiefs way down at #14. They must be pretty upset about that since they were #1 last year. A lot of people are complaining about the Browns defense, but they beat the Chiefs down 13 ranks, which is pretty fantastic.