Kevin Stefanski challenges himself to get Odell Beckham Jr. involved early in games

USA TODAY Sports

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.

10 responses to “Kevin Stefanski challenges himself to get Odell Beckham Jr. involved early in games

  1. As I said… if Beckham Jr. is a threat to get the ball at any time his “decoy value” will go through the roof and really allow the offense to flourish as you can’t let him run wild because he will.

  2. Nice to see this guy succeeding and his creativity coming out after breaking free from the unimaginative, vanilla, perennial offensive coordinator handicapper, Mike Zimmer.

  3. @thetooloftools is 100% correct. Talk (3 weeks ago) of trading him was stupid then and it’s stupid now. Without OBJ, the defense has no deep threat to fear. They overload the box and the run game suffers.

    If OBJ can get his fix with 5-8 targets, 3-5 catches for 60-120 yards per game, all the better for the team.

    I don’t care who scores.

  4. You can’t force it. Let Mayfield take what the defenses give and don’t pressure him. I feel like yesterday went well because of creative play calling, but it also didn’t make Mayfield try to force the ball to OBJ.

    If Stefanski can keep OBJ happy while also taking pressure off of Mayfield and allowing him to develop and learn this new scheme, then I’d be cautiously optimistic.

  5. Don’t over think your offense coach…you just shown the whole NFL that the 2020 Browns is a RUNNING team.

  6. So the book on the Browns is to double/triple team OBJ early. Not only will it shut down a play it will cause dissension the rest of the game and season.

  7. It’s early to call it, but Browns picked the right guy for their HC. Saleh meanwhile is doing, okay, for the 49ers without Nick Bosa.

  8. Too soon to call of course, but if it keeps going this way Stefanski candidate for Coach of the Year.

  9. Stefanski seems to have figured out how to use the personnel the Browns have and is willing to adjust the game plan according to the opponent.

  10. Good to see Stefanski continuing to follow Zimmer’s lead and running the ball when it can be most effective (over 300 yds vs Dallas) and using the WR reverse they used twice last year with the Vikes. Anyone who thinks creativity is enhanced from his historic coaching hasn’t watched enough Viking games.

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