Baker Mayfield and Odell Beckham, Jr. have not found that perfect rhythm yet, but they’re working to make sure that happens in 2021
After two years, of some less than stellar production between these two powerful personalities that spark controversy almost every day in the frenzy of the sports and life crosswinds, I expect both to provide a season of spectacular throws and one-handed catches, tiptoeing the sidelines, and lead the Browns to a new level of success not seen in these parts in 30 years.
I was reminded recently, when I saw media footage of the two megastars working together during a recent ball practice, that these guys are really good football players and were working together as you’d see on any high school practice field. The time and commitment that you see between these two has me salivating at the possibilities for this team as they get ready for the start of the regular season.
Considering that Beckham is coming back from major knee surgery back in October of 2020, what we are watching from Beckham, in his preparations for the start of the season, is very impressive. Mayfield too has gotten himself in really good physical shape and looking quicker and more fluid in his game.
All in all, I expect some impressive work from these two. That connection between the two and being on the same page seems to be occurring right before our eyes.
I give credit to the Browns coaching staff and their head coach Kevin Stefanski, who has helped create this new way of the players looking at the game and having them buying into the idea that it takes everyone and that focus to detail and trying to improve on a personal level. That is very evident in what we are seeing from Beckham and Mayfield during this training camp.
Here are three areas that I see as reasons why Mayfield and Beckham are set to have a breakout season.
Baker Mayfield, OBJ Improvement: Communication
You and I both know that when you’re not communicating, in whatever capacity, there will be breakdowns in trust and good production. That first year that Beckham joined the team, there wasn’t a good leader of the team in place.
Former Browns coach Freddie Kitchens did some good things with the team but his strong suit wasn’t reflecting onto his team the tools to work together. Once Cleveland’s season started going south in 2019, many of the players, like Beckham and Mayfield, would regularly seem disgruntled and would rather point the finger at one another.
Bringing Stefanski here was a lifesaver. But even at that, the Mayfield and Beckham connection was still struggling to get off the ground. Many have noted that Mayfield was too insistent on trying to force the ball Beckham’s direction early last season before Beckham went down with that bad knee injury.
I’d agree that it did seem like Mayfield’s forcing the issue was pretty evident and that after Beckham went down things for Mayfield seemed to change. Maybe because he knew he didn’t have a superstar wide receiver demanding his attention, consciously or not, things generally statistically took off for him.
After the season ended in Kansas City, whereby the luck of the NFL scheduling Gods it begins again for the Browns this season, Mayfield and Beckham have made a commitment to work out together along with their other teammates even prior to the regular training camp.
That public showing of their working together is obviously some for show and bringing us to this conversation, but what’s not caught on tape is what has me excited, because I truly believe these two leaders on the team are trying their hardest to reach a new level of success for themselves but more importantly for their team.