Browns push back hard on ‘insensitive’ Odell Beckham narrative
Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski and stars Baker Mayfield and Jarvis Landry are strongly pushing back on suggestions their offense will be “better off” without seriously injured wideout Odell Beckham Jr.
Stefanski said Wednesday that he’s been “sick” about losing Beckham since the former Giants star suffered a torn ACL in his left knee during the first quarter of Sunday’s win over Cincinnati.
“It’s completely insensitive to a guy that just tore his ACL,” Mayfield added, declining to discuss the topic further.
Mayfield added that Beckham’s season-ending injury is “just awful,” and he expects opposing defenses to “play us differently” without OBJ on the field.
“I think it’s about understanding the looks we’re getting and going through our offense based on the looks and just efficiently working through that,” Mayfield said. “We believe we have a great team, so that’s why we’re going to ask these guys to step in and multiple guys to try and fill that void.
“Without [Beckham], there might not be as many one-on-one opportunities, but that means we just have to be more efficient [against] zone coverages, in things like that, to make those plays.”
Landry, who also was a college teammate of OBJ’s at LSU, previously had dismissed the theory that Mayfield should be able to spread the ball around more effectively to other options within the offense rather than focusing mostly on targeting Beckham.
“I would say that’s not true at all,” Landry said in a radio interview Tuesday on 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland. “I think a lot of our offense has been solely based on having Odell on the field. And a lot of the things that have opened up for us as an offense has been because of the threat that he is. Now we’ve just got to find a way to adapt and adjust and make plays.”
Landry, who first met Beckham at a football camp in Alabama when they were 16, referred to the three-time Pro Bowler multiple times as his brother during the radio spot.
“It’s tough. You know? It’s tough, but his spirit is, I really can’t say,” Landry said. “It’s one of the things that, for him, it hurts. It hurts.
“And as a teammate, as a brother, it hurts to see your brother go down on the field like that, and obviously to lose him for the whole season. It’s something that’s really tough.”
Beckham only has appeared in all 16 games twice in seven NFL seasons, including the first five of his career with the Giants. He finished this year with 23 receptions for 319 yards and three touchdowns in seven games for Cleveland (5-2), with another score coming on a 50-yard rushing touchdown in Week 4 against Dallas.
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