The Browns are trying to find the right balance between utilizing the special skills of receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and not trying too hard to force the ball to him.
Coach Kevin Stefanski explained to PFT by phone after Sunday’s 49-38 that one of the challenges of having a weapon like OBJ is getting him involved in games sooner than later.
“I’ve got to do a better job of getting him involved early,” Stefanski said. “I feel like I can do better. He’s somebody that can really affect the game, whether you throw it to him or hand it to him. We just want to be really mindful of that. Really in every game, but it felt like on that turf [in Dallas] his speed would show up.”
A decision to give Beckham the ball on a rushing attempt late in the game, when the situation had was influenced by the unavailability of Nick Chubb at a time when Stefanski needed to pick running plays for his four-minute offense.
“I just didn’t feel — I felt confident in those runs but I wanted him to touch it,” Stefanski said regarding Beckham. “That was a play we had run earlier in the game. We dressed the formation up a little bit and ran it. It just went right back to what I told the coaches. I’m just thinking about players. And that was a play for 13. . . .
“We needed to do something on offense. We hadn’t done jack-you-know-what for a while. I just felt like as a playcaller I’m always got to be thinking about the players. In that moment, I just thought about 13 and our guys answered this bell.”
They also answered the bell due to part to the size of the stage. The Browns play in Dallas only once every eight years. Did they step up in part because of the profile of the game, the opponent, and the location?
“I think they did,” Stefanski said. “That stadium is pretty special. Everything is bigger in Texas. The moment feels bigger, the game feels bigger. They had 20-some thousand [fans present], which is more than we’ve been in front of all year. I think the guys do sense that. The good news is they stayed within the moment. It wasn’t too big for them.”
The Browns will have plenty more big moments, especially if they keep winning. After going through a stretch a few weeks back where the team won four games in three years, they’ve won three games in 19 days.