Bad news for Odell Beckham Jr. fantasy managers.
Not even Beckham believes that he can put up the kind of numbers in Cleveland that made him a star with the New York Giants.
The 27-year-old Browns receiver told Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot on Thursday that he’s tempered his expectations about his output this season.
“For me, one of my biggest growths has come in acceptance in a sense and for me knowing it’s probably not going to be that kind of season [with huge numbers],” Beckham said. “Like I always say, my goal is always going to be my goal, and I don’t feel like I’m ever going to fall short of it. Like I said, learning and acceptance, so you set new goals.”
Was injury behind lackluster 2019 output?
Beckham was one of the biggest disappointments of a hugely disappointing Browns campaign in 2019, failing to develop chemistry with quarterback Baker Mayfield while tallying just four touchdowns to go with 1,035 yards. He was second to Jarvis Landry in both categories and fell well below the peak form that made him a three-time Pro Bowler with the Giants.
Details emerged after the season that Beckham was playing through injury and eventually required offseason surgery for a sports hernia.
First-year head coach Kevin Stefanski declared in June that Beckham was “free and clear” and “100 percent,” raising hopes that last year’s woes were injury related and in the past — that this season, the real Beckham would emerge in Cleveland.
More frustration in 2020?
That catch accounts for nearly half his output of 96 yards through two games. It’s his only score. The season is still early. But so far, it looks a lot like 2019.
Beckham acknowledged the run-first philosophy that’s been employed with running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt carrying the bulk of the Browns’ offensive output.
Chubb, Hunt starring in Stefanski’s offense
Chubb is coming off a Pro Bowl campaign and has 182 rushing yards and two touchdowns so far this season. Hunt, who was a star in Kansas City before his NFL suspension for attacking a woman in a hotel hallway, is a big part of the game plan in his first full season with the Browns. He has 158 rushing yards and a touchdown as Cleveland’s secondary option.
“Nick Chubb needs to be the No. 1 rusher in the league or Kareem, too, as well,” Beckham continued. “You have two legitimate No. 1 backs in the backfield, and our team is very, very, very good at running the football, so you have to play to your strengths.
“Then I think you learn where you fit in and where you’re able to make your plays and how you can help the team.”
Is there more at play here?
That’s not language befitting a player pegged firmly with the diva wide receiver tag. Frankly, it’s shocking to read that he said it.
If Beckham is still capable of mounting the kind of production he did in New York, it doesn’t seem to anyone’s benefit to stifle that output, even if Stefanski prioritizes the run. Maybe this kind of performance is just the reality of Beckhams’s football existence playing alongside Mayfield, and he’s come to accept it.
Or is it a next-level mind game Beckham’s employing to elicit more touches?
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