Cleveland Browns: What to do with Jarvis Landry?

Cleveland Browns. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Cleveland Browns. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports /
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Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

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He made the Pro Bowl in each of his first two seasons with the Browns, and in 47 games with the team, has caught 236 passes for 2,990 yards and 13 touchdowns. He of course does the vast majority of his damage from the slot, and does have a good rapport with Mayfield. He’s made some impressive catches and clutch plays, and is always ready to fire up the team.

The problem with Landry is that he doesn’t fit what the Browns offense is moving towards. With the Minnesota Vikings in 2019, Stefanski utilized three WR sets on 25 percent of his plays, as Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs were his only legitimate weapons. Last season with the Browns, Stefanski ran 11 personnel 42 percent of the time, and actually slightly increased that number after Odell Beckham Jr. was injured.

Landry is a good slot receiver who operates in the short area of the field and beats zone coverage. He struggles to create separation against man coverage and is not a downfield threat.

Landry does his work at the same level that tight ends typically operate. In a spread-type vertical offense that uses many three-plus WR sets, that skillset can be useful, as it was in 2019 when Landry had by far the best season of his career. However, outside of that role, he doesn’t offer a ton of value.

The Chiefs shut down the Browns offense last week despite an excellent performance from Mayfield. The contrast from the Kansas City offense to the Cleveland one was stark; the Browns had to respect the deep passing game and were unable to play tight man coverage. This left receivers with quite a bit of separation and made throws easy for Patrick Mahomes.

Mayfield, meanwhile had to make precise throws with defenders draped over his targets. The Chiefs played Daniel Sorenson at deep safety, put their corners in tight man over the Browns receivers, and stacked the box to pressure Mayfield and stop the run. Kansas City wasn’t scared of Landry, Higgins, or anyone else on the Browns offense beating them down the field, and that’s a massive issue.

Landry was targeted 10 times on the afternoon, catching seven passes for 20 yards. He reached 65 receiving yards just three times all season, and was charged with six official drops, including a few against the Chiefs, once of which should have been returned for a touchdown.