Odell Beckham, Jr. has failed to thrive on the Cleveland Browns. Some blame his lackluster 2019 season on a bad head coach, and a nagging injury. But what about the first 6 games of 2020 when he was healthy, and the Browns had the Coach of the Year? OBJ still managed to disappoint, catching only 53.5% of his targets.
This didn’t happen at his previous team, the New York Giants. So, what was the difference between those two situations?
OBJ was drafted onto a team with a veteran quarterback, Eli Manning, and a veteran head coach, Tom Coughlin. That duo had two Super Bowl victories under their belts, and I suspect that they did not allow OBJ to seize control of their offense.
Contrast that to Cleveland. Freddie Kitchens was a rookie head coach when he was given custody of OBJ. In 2020, Kitchens was replaced by another rookie head coach, Kevin Stefanski. Not only that, but the Browns also brought in a rookie general manager, Andrew Berry.
Baker Mayfield was only in his second year as the Browns’ QB when he was teamed-up with OBJ. Baker, of course, is a celebrity himself, but not of OBJ’s magnitude.
And so, OBJ arrived into an easily-manipulable situation whereupon he bent the offense to his will, and got exactly what he wanted: pass after pass from Baker, even when it wasn’t part of the play-call, or called for by Baker’s read of the defense.
All of those low-odds throws to OBJ sank Baker. He went from being a rookie sensation to being the worst QB in the NFL. And OBJ didn’t do so hot either. After all, he is not an offensive coordinator, and “Just Throw Me the Ball” is not a real scheme.
So, in order to thrive, OBJ needs to be saved from himself. He needs sufficiently strong leadership to keep him in line. Unfortunately, the Browns just don’t have that now.
Could a seasoned veteran like Tom Brady get better production out of OBJ? Probably. So, that’s the solution for OBJ: get himself traded to a team with proper adult supervision.
But what if OBJ likes the leadership vacuum at Cleveland? What if he likes being able always get his way? What if he won’t go away? If that’s the case, then Coach Stefanski and Baker will have to sack-the-fuck-up already and get OBJ under control. Otherwise, it will be 2019 all over again with Baker regressing sharply.
Note: Baker’s back-up, Case Keenum, is 33 years-old, and has more playing experience than Baker. It would be interesting to see if he could perform better with OBJ on the field than Baker can.
Note: If it were me, I would just start Rashard Higgins and be done with it. With Higgins, you are guaranteed nothing but the highest quality professional play.