Baker Mayfield: We have to “force feed” Odell Beckham early in games

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The OBJ experiment hasn’t gone particularly well for the Browns, with one of the best receivers in the NFL not getting the ball as much as he’d like — and with the Browns not winning nearly as many games as everyone had expected.

While the far bigger concern is the latter, quarterback Baker Mayfield has an idea for addressing the former.

“I think people have this picture perfect thing where it was going to be sunshine and rainbows and he was going to have a whole lot of one on ones,” Mayfield told reporters on Wednesday. “It is Odell Beckham. He is going to have double coverage, and we have to find ways to format things to get him the ball and force feed him early on to where he can make an impact before we can have the perfect look to have a shot play. That is something we have learned the hard way, but I think as the weeks have gone on, we are continuing to improve on how to get the ball to him.”

Mayfield said his chemistry with Beckham is “continuing to improve,” and he acknowledged that they discussed the key fourth-and-four play from last Sunday, when Mayfield threw to a double-covered Jarvis Landry at a time when Beckham had broken free and thrown his hand in the air, Randy Moss-style.

“Yeah, we talked about it,” Mayfield said, “but I am looking at other stuff at that point so I did not see it.”

Regardless of the reasons given, and irrespective of whether they constitute explanations or excuses, the idea of forcing the ball to Beckham at any point of the game isn’t a great one. Unless Mayfield is deliberately engaged in a misdirection, he’s letting defenses know that they need to be particularly cognizant of Beckham early in games, because that’s when the force feeding will happen. So if a defense can disrupt the plan to get Beckham into the flow of the game early, the offense’s overall strategy can be derailed.

That’s why ideas like this are usually a mistake. Remember the Randy Ratio? Former Vikings coach Mike Tice realized that, if/when Moss gets the ball at least 40 percent of the time, the Vikings win. So Tice decided to focus less on letting nature take its course and more on ensuring that Moss got the ball at least 40 percent of the time.

The Browns simply need to run their offense. Yes, they need to design plays that give Beckham a chance to get sufficiently open (and, to date, they’ve failed at that). But Mayfield also needs, as coach Freddie Kitchens has repeatedly said, to make his reads and throw the ball to the open man.

31 responses to “Baker Mayfield: We have to “force feed” Odell Beckham early in games

  1. They already do force feed the ball to Beckham early in games. Not via forcing the ball down the field into double coverage but via designed simple plays that get him the ball. Screens etc.

    The guy is on pace for a 1200 yard season it’s not he’s been completely nonexistent.

  2. Nothing like handing the Opponents your game plan, as if he doesn’t throw enough picks already! I’d say this was misinformation but I don’t think he’s that smart.

  3. Baker “One Read” Mayfield talking about getting OBJ the ball is funny. Maybe OBJ is frustrated with Mayfield not finding him when he’s open. Maybe Baker needs to stop making so many commercials and spend more time in the film room so he can learn how to read the defense and find the open man instead of being a one read QB.

  4. At least he’s not yelling at reporters and walking away. I’m not going to read too much into this. It’s pretty standard nonsense talk. Best player.. get the ball in his hands.. that kind of stuff.

  5. It’s a horrible offensive strategy. If they are doubling OBJ then either Landry should be getting open or they won’t have enough guys in the box to slow down Chubb. Just take what the defense gives you until they are forced to adjust.

  6. Ah, yes. A 2019 reboot of the Randy Ratio. I can’t wait to see how the Odell Quotient works out. At least the trade deadline is past, so he won’t end up in Oakland.

  7. Bet! You go ahead Baker and force feed OBJ. Please do that. That will be the worst mistake you can possibly make. The BEST cb in the league, Tre’davious White is gonna FEAST!!

  8. Maybe they should just send him out there with a red shirt on when he’s going to be the primary target and take away any guesswork by the defense.

  9. “I think people have this picture perfect thing where it was going to be sunshine and rainbows and he was going to have a whole lot of one on ones,” Mayfield told reporters on Wednesday.


    This guy Mayfield has trouble with the truth. And Mayfield projects way too much. I can remember all the Super Bowl-Playoff talk in the preseason and how he didn’t see the need to work with Beckham in the offseason because he didn’t work with Landry last year in the offseason. Talk about sunshine and rainbows. That’s all we heard from these clowns in the preseason. Now he wants to blame it all on someone else…

  10. Remains to be seen how OBJ reacts to more targets.
    I think his mind has left for thoughts of New England.

  11. This is more evidence of how a guy like Odell is tearing apart the team. He could get the ball more if he wasnt scared of the slot. Maybe go over the middle , shallow cross? He is a 5’11 softy that has made a career off one catch and a high YPC. He has hurt baker more than helped. You can see it right here. Odell having big games never equaled giants wins. Just like it wont for the browns. Odell is small amd lost a step. His only skill is speed amd occasionally a one handed catch. The guy isnt football smart. He is still lining up amd costing timeouts 8 weeksin.

  12. Even if you go back to the 2007 Patriots, by the end of the year, the good teams figured out how to take Moss out of the game and jam up the slot at the same time so Welker couldn’t do too much damage. Then it was on the running game and other WRs, which weren’t that great so games were much tighter late in the year and in the playoffs.

    Good defenses are never going to let OBJ catch the ball if the Baker can’t beat them with the open guys and the running game doesn’t get going. The Browns have Chubb. Pound the ball and then play action to OBJ and Landry when they bring safeties down to stop the run.

  13. As a diehard Browns fan, this stuff is hard to hear/read. I wanted to support Freddie so badly, but he obviously the whole “I’m the smartest guy in the room” thing going on.

    Quit worrying about force-feeding the ball to OBJ… just give the ball to Chubb (and Hunt, now that he’s back) and pound on the defense with our run game. That will open up plays in the passing game, which will in turn open up chances for OBJ.

    This isn’t rocket science.

  14. Didn’t OBJ drop a critical back shoulder pass that essentially ended the game at New England? The 4th down throw at Denver was not a given.

  15. I actually think this will end well…

    for the people who start the other teams’ DST in Fantasy Football.

  16. It should be ‘force feed the open receiver, we have so many talented guys I’ll throw to whoever you don’t design coverage against, then we’ll also pound the ball down your throat if you design your coverage to take all the options away’

    But what do i know.

  17. Maybe if Beckham had accepted the trade and humbled himself enough to show up for OTA’s (especially with a new team) and pre-season workouts & games, these problems could’ve been worked out.
    No, Mayfield is filming commercials and Beckham was customizing a Rolls Royce to impress everyone. And, what man, let alone the “head coach” has so little gumption and backbone to put a stop to this nonsense? Kitchens needs to find himself a set and start taking command.

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