After the Browns lost to the Patriots on Sunday, Cleveland receiver Odell Beckham Jr. expressed regret that the offense “shied away” from “challenging” New England cornerback Stephon Gilmore. On Monday, Browns coach Freddie Kitchens shied away from challenging Beckham publicly.
But it seems clear that Kitchens wasn’t thrilled with the remarks.
“Odell had seven balls thrown to him,” Kitchens told reporters in response to a question regarding Beckham’s comments. “He caught five of them. I am not responding to that. We need to win a football game. That is what I am worried about.”
That’s fine, but Kitchens also should be worried about the pressure that Beckham continues to place on the offense to get the football to him instead of allowing it to be distributed to whoever happens to be open at any given time. The problem continues to be that Beckham, like so many other great receivers past, present, and future, believes he’s open even when he isn’t.
And so, with the Browns losing five of seven games, Beckham has no qualms about voicing complaints about five catches on seven targets because he genuinely believes that, if the team would get him the ball more often, the Browns would win more games. In Beckham’s brain, there’s a correlation between him not getting the ball as much as he’d like and Kitchens not winning as much as he’d like.
Ultimately, it’s fair to wonder whether Beckham would like to turn the clock back to March and get traded to team other than the Browns, because the relationship definitely hasn’t unfolded the way that he and many others thought it would. It’s also fair to wonder whether Kitchens or anyone else with the Browns is privately wishing that the deal had never happened.