One of the ongoing themes of the Cleveland Browns’ season is that they’ve been forced to realize that things did not come together as easily as they perhaps thought they would. Baker Mayfield essentially confirmed one aspect of that on Wednesday.
The Browns quarterback admitted that he had to learn “the hard way” that the ball would essentially have to be forced to Odell Beckham at times, as teams continue to double team him and give him one-on-one looks.
It’s a glimpse into the fact that a working relationship between a quarterback and wide receiver takes some real work. Given Beckham’s obvious frustration, it’s clearly still a work in progress. He’s still on a 1,000-yard pace, but he’s caught just one touchdown in 2019. Beckham may not constantly have open looks, but the Browns are doing themselves a disservice if they’re not trying to find creative ways to involve him as much as possible.
The Browns are teetering on the verge of complete disaster, and that could lead to some major changes this offseason. Firing head coach Freddie Kitchens would be one of the most obvious, but could Odell Beckham Jr. also be one-and-done in Cleveland?
While he is still on pace for over 1,000 yards receiving, Beckham is averaging fewer than five catches per game and has only one touchdown. He has expressed frustration recently both publicly and privately, and Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman says there are NFL teams who believe Beckham could be traded if the issues spill over into early next season. Two NFC officials told Freeman they don’t see a move happening this offseason but they anticipate that “the vultures will be circling if the Browns keep sucking.”
Beckham was open for what could have been a touchdown on a crucial 4th down against the Denver Broncos last weekend, but Baker Mayfield didn’t see him. He was then overheard by a CBS reporter complaining about not getting the ball, and you can’t really blame him. Both he and Jarvis Landry were open, but Mayfield simply missed them.
While Kitchens and Cleveland’s offensive line deserve much of the blame for the Browns being 2-6, Mayfield has taken a huge step back. He is the only quarterback in the NFL who currently has more interceptions than touchdowns on dropbacks when he’s not pressured, and his passer rating is the lowest in the NFL when he’s not pressured. Given the expectations heading into the season, any wide receiver would be frustrated with how things have gone.
There were rumors that the Browns were shopping Beckham before the trade deadline, but those were quickly dismissed by their front office. Unless Beckham wants out, the Browns probably won’t shop him this offseason. But if things continue down their current path, it’s fair to wonder how content he will be sticking around in Cleveland.
Odell Beckham vented about not getting the ball after Baker Mayfield did not throw to him on a failed 4th-and-4 play in the Cleveland Browns’ 24-19 loss to the Denver Broncos on Sunday, according to a reporter.
Cleveland was down by five and had a 4th-and-4 after losing yardage on a third down running play. They spread out the formation and Mayfield threw incomplete over the middle to Jarvis Landry with just over three minutes left.
CBS replays showed that Beckham had beaten Chris Harris Jr. on the left side of the field, but Mayfield didn’t throw to him. After the pass fell incomplete, CBS reporter Jay Feely says Beckham vented that he couldn’t “get the ball to save my life.”
It’s hard to blame him. He was open and Mayfield didn’t throw to him. That could have been the go-ahead touchdown.
Had they converted the fourth down play, Beckham might not have been as upset, but since they did not, he had a right to be frustrated.
The truth is Landry was also open, meaning Mayfield had several good options.
Mayfield just waited too long to make a decision on his throw and got it to Landry too late. The playcall worked. Mayfield just did not execute.
Beckham had five catches for 87 yards on six targets, while Landry had six catches for 51 yards on 13 targets. They were both involved in a shoe controversy.
The Browns are now 2-6, while Denver is 3-6.
Odell Beckham Jr and Jarvis Landry wore cleats during the first half of Sunday’s game against the Denver Broncos that were a violation of the NFL’s uniform policy, and the two receivers were told to change the footwear at halftime. Had they refused, they apparently would not have been permitted to play in the second half.
According to CBS analyst Jay Feely, Beckham and Landry were told by the NFL that they could not play in the second half if they did not change their cleats. Both players obliged.
The NFL allows players to wear custom footwear during the week that is designated the “My Cause My Cleats” movement, which is designed to help players raise money for charities of their choice. Players must otherwise stick to the uniform policy or be subject to fines and/or — in this case — being forced to sit out.
Beckham has chosen to pay fines in the past rather than follow the uniform policy, which is what he did earlier this season with an absurd piece of jewelry he wore during a game. He was also forced to miss a play during a primetime game back in September because of an issue with the visor he was wearing. In Sunday’s instance, there was a lot more at stake than money.
Odell Beckham Jr has been a limited participant in practice this week because of a groin injury, but the ailment is not a new one. It stems from the hip injury Beckham suffered during the preseason, and he has been battling it for more than two months now.
On Thursday, Beckham told reporters that the hip issue is something that “kind of lingers” and he has had to fight through all season.
“It just kind of lingers and you just gotta deal with it,” he said, via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “That’s where I’m at right now, it’s unfortunate. I wish it didn’t happen before the season, I could have been in a better place. But this is where I’m at, so.”
As Cabot notes, this is the first week since the start of the season that Beckham has missed practice time. He has appeared in every game, though his production is lacking like the rest of Cleveland’s offense. Beckham has caught 34 passes in seven games for 488 yards and just one touchdown, and he and Baker Mayfield have not shown much chemistry. That likely has a lot to do with the offensive line and play-calling, but it’s not helping that Beckham is less than 100 percent healthy.
Beckham said he does not want to make any excuses for why he and the Browns have struggled, but this is not the first time he has mentioned his health. It could be a bigger factor than he has let on.
It may be hard to believe, but the 2019 NFL regular season is already at the midway point and we’re all headed back down the mountain from here. Before you know it, playoff football will be upon us with eyes on the Super Bowl in February.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves … a lot has happened over the last eight weeks and a lot more is bound to happen over the next nine, so before we begin looking ahead, let’s look back.
Here are five of the biggest surprises — good or bad — at the NFL’s midway point.
5. Odell Beckham Jr. bottoming out in Cleveland
There was a belief that Eli Manning was holding Odell Beckham Jr. back and hindering the receiver’s production in New York, but through eight games as a member of the Cleveland Browns, that is proving to be anything but the case. Despite remaining healthy and playing the majority of offensive snaps, OBJ is mired in the worst season of his professional career, averaging his lowest production numbers to date. Adding fuel to the fire, Beckham has begun to subtly air his grievances, which is the typical slow burn that comes with the eccentric superstar before he erupts and attacks kicking nets, goes on random Miami boat trips, or appears in highly questionable videos with Instagram models.
4. Jimmy Garoppolo leading the perfect 49ers
After shining during his early 49ers career, Jimmy Garoppolo fell off the map in 2018 and had a forgettable preseason, leading many to question if his initial success was more about luck than talent and if San Francisco had made a grave mistake in signing him to a large long-term contract. Garoppolo has quelled those concerns at the midway point and, thanks in part to a dominating defense, has the 49ers resting at 8-0, joining, ironically, the New England Patriots as the league’s only two remaining undefeated teams. As for Garoppolo, he’s coming off his first career 4-touchdown game and is riding high with his confidence.
3. Le’Veon Bell not panning out for Gang Green
There were rumors abound that Le’Veon Bell was being shopped at the trading deadline, but he managed to stay in East Rutherford and will remain with the Jets for at least the rest of this season. But is that good or bad for Gang Green? After signing a four-year, $52.5 million deal this offseason, expectations were off the chart. However, Bell has hardly performed like a player worthy of all that money, averaging a career-low 3.2 yards per carry this season while failing to eclipse 75 yards rushing in any game to date. Additionally, Bell has gone over 100 yards from scrimmage in just one game this season and has seen his carry count slowly dwindle in Adam Gase’s offense. Both he and the Jets have been a major disappointment thus far.
2. Lamar Jackson is a legitimate MVP candidate
Do you remember playing Tecmo Super Bowl as a kid and Randall Cunningham was nearly untouchable? Or maybe Michael Vick in some of the earlier Madden games? That’s what Lamar Jackson is doing in real life this season. Not only has he proven the ability to win games with his arm, but he’s changing the entire division with his legs. And those chants from Ravens fans all across the country? Yeah, they’re saying, “MVP!” That’s because Jackson is playing at an MVP-like level. He is currently on pace to throw for over 3,750 yards and 25 touchdowns, while adding over 1,300 yards and nearly seven touchdowns on the ground. All this while completing over 63 percent of his passes. Those are ridiculous extrapolated numbers — numbers the NFL has never seen before.
1. Gardner Minshew is no flash in the pan
When Nick Foles went down in Week 1, many assumed that would be all she wrote for the Jaguars in 2019. But when one door closes, another tends to open and when it did, Uncle Rico came bursting through. Gardner Minshew has not only keep Jacksonville afloat, but he’s also created a very legitimate quarterback quandary for Tom Coughlin and the Jaguars’ front office. Minshew has gone 4-3 since taking over as the team’s starter and has thrown 13 touchdown to just two interceptions in eight games. Unsurprisingly, the more playing time Minshew receives, the better he becomes. He’s proven himself to be a quality starting quarterback at the NFL level. When Foles does return to health, he may be forced to ride pine until either the Minshew magic has run out, or one of them is moved.
Odell Beckham Jr presented Tom Brady with a very thoughtful gift after the Cleveland Browns visited the New England Patriots on Sunday, and one particular photoshop meme of the exchange had some gullible fans thinking Brady essentially spit in the star wide receiver’s face. Obviously, that did not happen.
Beckham gave Brady a pair of goat hair cleats, which was a reference to Brady being the greatest of all time. Brady said in radio interviews that he appreciated the gesture, but a hilarious photoshop from Barstool Sports depicted the six-time Super Bowl champion throwing the cleats into the garbage as he walked off the field.
Believe it or not, some of the responses to the video indicated people were duped. Brady, however, praised Beckham for being so thoughtful in his weekly appearance on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show” Monday.
“I have them. That was pretty cool. That was very, very nice of him,” Brady said. “It’s pretty unique. I have never had anyone do that for me. It was very thoughtful. I certainly appreciate it.”
Brady also said his son is a big fan of Beckham’s, and he stuck around long after Sunday’s game ended so he could bring him to meet the receiver in person.
This isn’t the first time we have seen an example of the mutual respect between Brady and Beckham, so it was pretty obvious that Brady didn’t actually toss a gift from OBJ into a trash can in the middle of Gillette Stadium. Some people will believe anything they see on the internet.
Odell Beckham and Bill Belichick will renew hostilities this weekend as the Cleveland Browns and New England Patriots face off. Beckham and Belichick last faced off in 2015, a game the Patriots won.
It seems, at the very least, Belichick has amusing messages for Beckham when they cross paths, as relayed by the Cleveland receiver on Wednesday.
Given that the two have only met once, maybe Beckham’s memory of these repeated comments is a little hazy. Plus, Beckham grabbed four catches for 104 yards and a touchdown in their only meeting, so he wasn’t totally shut out.
All the same, you can definitely imagine Belichick saying something like this. The man does have a sense of humor, as he showed earlier in the week in his own rules-exploiting ways.
Odell Beckham Jr was not the driver of a luxury BMW at the time it was involved in a serious accident roughly two years ago, but the star wide receiver could still be on the hook for the damages.
A company called Celebrity Motors has filed a lawsuit against Beckham claiming they let the then-New York Giants star borrow a 2017 BMW 650XG that only he was authorized to drive. The lawsuit, which was obtained by TMZ, states that Beckham let his friend Blake Anderson drive the $100K car, and Anderson wrecked it while cruising along in the Lincoln Tunnel in New York on Oct. 27, 2017. Anderson is said to have “carelessly” cut across several lanes of traffic in an attempt to exit the tunnel, at which point he struck another car and caused $38K in damage.
Lexington Insurance Company, which is the insurance company representing Celebrity Motors, claims Beckham is responsible for the damages since his friend has no experience driving a car with “this kind of power” and has multiple traffic violations on his driving record. However, the company claims Beckham had an “oral agreement,” which could make all of that difficult to prove.
Beckham, of course, signed a $95 million contract extension last year. He also wore an insanely expensive luxury watch during a game earlier this year, so he should have no problem covering the bill if he loses the suit.
Odell Beckham Jr is off to a slow start with the Cleveland Browns, but that does not mean they are thinking about giving up on him after just five games with the franchise.
With Beckham having just 23 catches in five games and Cleveland’s offense looking like a total disaster for much of the season, there has been speculation that the Browns could try to trade Beckham before the Oct. 29 deadline. In no uncertain terms, general manager John Dorsey told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that is not going to happen.
“That’s fake news,” he said.
Dorsey further explained that he has not fielded any trade calls about Beckham and has no plans to. He said the thought of unloading the star receiver has not even crossed his mind.
The Browns were easily the most hyped team of the offseason, and the Beckham trade was the biggest of a series of notable moves they made. They sent former first-round pick Jabrill Peppers, a 2019 first-round draft pick and a 2019 third-round pick to the New York Giants in exchange for Beckham and defensive lineman Olivier Vernon. That is obviously a substantial investment, so you can understand why the Browns aren’t ready to throw in the towel after less than half a season.
Beckham recently admitted that he is a bit frustrated with his usage in Cleveland’s offense, but who wouldn’t be? The offensive line has been horrendous, which has resulted in Baker Mayfield taking a huge step back. All that said, the Browns’ easiest path to getting back on track is to find better ways to protect Mayfield and get the ball in Beckham’s hands — not to ship him off to another team.