The question was asked not long after Baker Mayfield threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to rookie Donovan Peoples-Jones with 11 seconds left to defeat the Bengals: Are the Browns better off without Odell Beckham?
It sounds like sacrilege to even consider that the loss of Beckham would actually improve the team’s offense. Yet, it’s a fact that Beckham leads the Browns in targets despite he and Mayfield having never found a chemistry.
Mayfield, like Jarvis Landry, isn’t entertaining the question.
“One, I think it’s just completely insensitive to a guy who just tore his ACL,” Mayfield said, via Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com. “So I’m not even going to comment on it. You never want to lose guys. That’s where I’m going to leave that one.”
Without Beckham, the Browns can do what they do best without worrying about getting him his touches. They rank third in rushing and 27th in passing.
It also will allow Mayfield to spread the ball around, not trying to force the ball into Beckham.
Or that’s the theory.
Landry earlier said “that’s true at all” and coach Kevin Stefanski agreed.
“I do reject that, yes,” Stefanski said. “Odell is a great, great player. We’re going to miss him. I feel sick, still, without him in the building.”
Stefanski said he’s “not smart enough” to explain the analytics of Mayfield’s better numbers without Beckham.
“I’ll just tell you I’d much rather have 13 on the field if available to us,” Stefanski said. “He’s not, so we’ll make sure we have a plan to make sure we can move the ball any which way we can.”