Puzzles have always been difficult for me to try and complete. I’m not the best at trying to solve these mind-bending activities. The Cleveland Browns have been trying to piece together their own puzzle of sorts and just maybe that puzzle might get completed this year as the Browns eye a potential Super Bowl run. One of the main pieces to that puzzle is their wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
Beckham was injured last fall when he tore his ACL and missed most of the season. Prior to his injury, Beckham had struggled in only grabbing three touchdowns and over 319 yards receiving and never seemed to be on the same page with his quarterback Baker Mayfield.
Much of Browns news over the past two seasons is how it seemed, especially at the beginning of the season that Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield struggled offensively because he was too obsessed with trying to target Beckham, and thus the whole offense didn’t run smoothly.
Supporters of this claim will say after the Beckham injury all that inconsistency seemed to evaporate almost instantaneously for Mayfield as he played much better the rest of the season.
Should we buy into that claim or was the Browns offense just a big messed up puzzle at the beginning of the season? It only made it to nearing completion by season’s end, when the Browns bowed out of the playoffs against the Kansas City Chiefs. I contend the offense, starting to click, was more to do with Mayfield and the rest of the team simply becoming more cohesive, not because Beckham was injured and suddenly Mayfield played better.
So now, Beckham is back after the bad injury last season, and his recovery has been seen by many as Beckham has shared his story on that road to recovery through various social media platforms. He returned to Browns minicamp looking as good as ever and now Browns training camp is set to begin July 30th as anxious Brown’s fans await.
So what should we expect now from Beckham? Can he be that missing piece to that puzzle for our Brown’s chances at winning a Super Bowl?
A slow start
Beckham hasn’t gotten off to too many fast starts over his NFL career. In his rookie season with the New York Giants, he missed the first four games due to injury. The trend of not playing a lot or starting fast has continued in Cleveland. He only caught 23 passes in seven games a year ago along with three touchdowns.
Over the course of his career, all of Beckham’s numbers have slowly regressed. Back in 2016, he had a career-best 101 catches and 10 touchdowns. With a touchdown total of 7 touchdown receptions for the Browns in his two seasons here, there will continue to be a discussion of Beckham’s production versus value.
Coming off the serious knee injury, and still recovering from that I suspect a slow start. Beckham has had a series of injuries throughout his career and going back as far as his college days at LSU. He broke his ankle back in 2017 and has had several hamstring injuries over the past seven seasons.