Odell Beckham Jr. could only see his numbers skyrocketing and problems evaporating when he learned his passes would come from up-and-coming Baker Mayfield, rather than an aging Eli Manning.
But the star receiver never saw this coming.
Beckham, whose offseason trade to Cleveland turned the Browns into the most hyped team of the summer, is losing another year of his prime in a lost season, with the Browns likely soon to be eliminated from postseason play following a 2-6 start. With Mayfield regressing and the offense ranked 25th in points per game (19.0), Beckham has just 39 receptions and one touchdown, putting him on pace for single-season career lows.
Though Mayfield’s sophomore season was expected to be even better paired with one of the best offensive talents in the league, the quarterback has struggled to develop a rhythm with Beckham, and thinks he may have to make a more concerted effort to get the receiver involved.
“I think people have this picture-perfect thing where it was going to be sunshine and rainbows and he was going to have a whole lot of one-on-ones,” Mayfield said Wednesday. “It is Odell Beckham. He is going to have double coverage, and we have to find ways to format things to get him the ball and force feed him early on to where he can make an impact before we can have the ‘perfect look to have a shot’ play. That is something we have learned the hard way, but I think as the weeks have gone on, we are continuing to improve on how to get the ball to him.”
On one key fourth-down play from last week’s loss to the Broncos, Mayfield threw to a double-teamed Jarvis Landry, even though Beckham was wide-open, prompting the former Giants receiver to throw his hand in the air.
“Yeah, we talked about it,” Mayfield said, “but I am looking at other stuff at that point so I did not see it.”
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