Browns receiver Jarvis Landry made a public call on Thursday for the team to get the ball more frequently to receiver Odell Beckham Jr. The remarks arguably break protocol and cause problems, since the do-your-job-style mandate made popular by one-time Browns coach (actually Ravens coach) Bill Belichick would make it clear and obvious that it’s not Landry’s job to politick for him or anyone else to be getting the ball.
Current Browns coach Freddie Kitchens didn’t see it that way. Sort of.
“They are free to say whatever they want to say,” Kitchens told reporters on Friday when asked about Landry’s remarks. “I do not monitor them. ‘Monitor’ is not the right word. I do not put restrictions on what they say. Our only rule is do not hurt the team. I do not think that hurt the team. I would agree with him.”
Whehter it potentially hurts the team is a matter of interpretation. Some would say that mounting pressure on the coaching staff and quarterback Baker Mayfield to get the ball to Beckham hurts the team because getting the ball to one player shouldn’t be the focal point of running an offense. The goal should be doing what’s best to move the ball. Specifically as to the passing game, it means throwing the ball to the open man.
If Mayfield is thinking more (or at all) about getting the ball to Beckham than Mayfield is about getting the ball to the open man, the offense won’t work as smoothly and effectively as it could or should. If the defense is determined to take Beckham away — and there’s clear value in doing so if the Browns will deliberately be trying to get the ball to him — there should be other openings that the offense can exploit.
“I think we need to intentionally get him the ball, too,” Kitchens said of Beckham. “I think we need to intentionally win a game.”
A game can intentionally be won without the ball intentionally being pushed to Beckham. But Beckham, like so many other receivers, wants the ball and isn’t afraid to say so. That’s where the coaching staff and the quarterback need to tell Beckham and anyone who would clamor for Beckham to get the ball to do their jobs, reminding them that offensive strategy or play calling aren’t their jobs.
That’s why the Patriots have six Super Bowl trophies, and it’s also why the Browns are teetering on the edge of plunging to 2-4 as they prepare for a post-bye trip to New England.