After Sunday’s loss at New England, Beckham bemoaned the fact that the ball wasn’t thrown his way more often.
“I just felt like we didn’t challenge as much as we could have,” Beckham told reporters in reference to cornerback Stephon Gilmore holding Beckham to five catches for 52 yards on seven targets. “I think we kind of shied away from it. I was expecting and looking forward to it, but that wasn’t the case today. We had a couple plays, but for whatever reason we didn’t do as much challenging as we talked about. Other than that whatever came my way, pretty much I caught. Whatever opportunities I had I made the most of them. You can only control what you can control.”
That’s the downside of adding a star receiver who: (1) wants the ball often; and (2) isn’t shy about saying so. Especially if the team isn’t winning.
If the team is winning, complaining about not getting the ball more comes off as selfish. If the team isn’t winning, the player can find cover in the simple notion that, if he’d gotten the ball more, maybe the team would have won.
For the season, Beckham has 34 catches (tied for 33rd in the league) for 488 yards (23rd) and one touchdown (tied for 92nd). That’s not the impact that the Browns or Beckham envisioned, and it’s not the season that anyone envisioned for Cleveland.
While the schedule does indeed soften, the margin for error is becoming narrower; the Browns basically have to finish 7-2 to have a shot at getting to the playoffs. And Beckham, who may spend some of the next 30 hours wishfully thinking that he’ll be getting a call from Browns G.M. John Dorsey informing Beckham that he’s been traded to the Patriots, will likely continue to not-so-subtly complain about his lack of involvement in the offense, especially if the Browns keep losing.