If someone said “At week 14 the Cleveland Browns will have a 5-7 record,” during last offseason, they would be considered an outcast. Now they would be considered a wizard because that is exactly what has happened with Browns.
Currently there are many problems that point to the amount of failure that this year’s Cleveland team has been facing — one of the most evident being the underutilization of Odell Beckham Jr.
OBJ has had a tremendous impact on the overall morale of the team by establishing a strong leadership presence in the locker room, but his numbers are a major cause of concern.
The first obvious characteristic that has been an issue is his total yardage. In this category, Beckham is pacing a career low amount of yards per game. Currently, in the 2019-2020 NFL season, he is averaging 67.1 yards a game. In the previous years, OBJ has averaged 108.8, 96.7, 85.4, 75.5, and 87.7 yards per game. This year, so far, his hit a career low for Odell, but unfortunately this is just one part of his game where he is struggling.
Unfortunately in terms of total Touchdowns, Beckham is scoring at such a slow rate that he has only managed to run through the end zone twice this season. Out of the twelve games that he has played, he has set a personal record for least amount of touchdowns in a season.
Odell’s receptions are not much better either. This year, he is averaging 4.8 receptions per game — when his time with the Giants he averaged 6.6 a game. This can be pointed to Baker Mayfield. Since he is targeting him less, OBJ can only do so much to get that number higher.
The rankings of Beckham have truly illustrated how rough his season has been. At two receiving touchdowns on this season, he is ranked 94th in the NFL. In total receptions, he is ranked 28th. In total receiving yards, he is ranked 23rd. In receptions per game he is ranked 39th. And in receiving yards per game he is ranked 29th. This is coming from a guy that used to be a top-five receiver. The most upsetting stat for OBJ might be that he has had six straight games without 100 yards. That’s the longest that he has ever gone in his career without a 100-yard game.
All of these troubles can be pointed back at Baker Mayfield. Odell did come late in the offseason, so it’s understandable if the two did not understand each other at first. But now, Baker has to come to grips with the fact that part of his team’s failures have come from him not targeting OBJ. Once he figures that out, they Browns will do significantly better.
By Erik Drost – Odell Beckham Jr., CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=81454383