3. OBJ’s dad was right about Cleveland Browns
It was extremely unprofessional for Odell Beckham, Sr. to compile videos of his son being open and ignored by quarterback Baker Mayfield. Nobody likes a meddling parent in Pop Warner league, never mind the NFL. However, what he did may have saved his son’s career.
For now the junior Odell is in the playoffs catching passes left and right and is headed for his first Super Bowl. In the playoffs, OBJ has posted unbelievable numbers, with 19 receptions in 23 targets for a completion percentage of 82.6%
However, Beckham needs to sweep up some things on his side of the street also. When given chances this season for the Browns, he failed to come through, with bobbles in key situations that could have won games. The numbers say that OBJ was targeted 34 targets in 290 snaps, one target every 8.5 snaps. The Rams have targeted him 48 times in 376 snaps, or one target every 7.8 snaps.
The net difference is that the Rams gave him about four extra targets as the number two wide receiver, compared to the Browns as the number one wide receiver. His catch percentage improved to 56.3% with the Rams, versus 50.0% with the Browns, which means he went from very poor to poor. This writer has previously expressed the opinion that his fundamentals and route running have been poor, especially on short routes, and he seems fixated on making his trademark over-the-shoulder catches. But he has made up for his lousy regular season by showing up for the playoffs.
It should be kept in mind that with the Browns, he usually drew the defense’s best cornerback in man coverage, and that helped the offense overall. With the Rams, that never happens, because Cooper Kupp makes the defensive coordinators pee their pants, and ensures that OBJ receives less attention.
It’s rather clear that toward the end of OBJ’s tenure, he was not getting the ball. Part of it is because he was not attentive to the fundamentals necessary to being a complete wide receiver. The eyeball test says that he was messing up on catchable short passes, and what he really wanted to do was catch deep balls. The Rams seem to have gotten him caught up now. That begs the question, why could it not have happened in Cleveland?
Yes, OBJ is a difficult personality. However, wide receivers have a known tendency to be difficult. Great quarterbacks and coaches have the reputation of raising the level of play of those around them. It does not happen for every quarterback or every coach.
Did Mayfield do everything possible to make it work? Or did he get frustrated with his fellow star and quit throwing the ball to him?
Only one target versus the Steelers versus 10 targets for Jarvis Landry and only 65 yards for his trouble was definitely absurd. As will be discussed later on in this article, that Steelers game had multiple breakdowns in the game plan and execution. A feud between Mayfield and Beckham could well have been one of the sub-plots that allowed a superior Browns team to lose to the Steelers that Sunday.