The Browns made it to the 2020 postseason in large part because of their run game. But the offense could reach another level in 2021 with the return of receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
That’s at least the way quarterback Baker Mayfield sees it. The signal-caller has touted how good Beckham has looked throughout the offseason in his recovery from tearing his ACL. Beckham caught 23 passes for 319 yards with three touchdowns in seven games last year. But Mayfield feels like just Beckham’s dynamic presence will give opponents more to consider.
“Obviously his catching ability speaks for itself,” Mayfield said, via Jake Trotter of ESPN. “But I think people forget how truly fast he is, to be able to take the top off defenses. Safeties have to worry about that. So teams are going to have to defend it — pick their poison. Because we obviously are a physical, run-first mentality team. And that’s not going to change no matter who we have out there at receiver. But he adds an element where teams are going to have to decide.”
The Browns have Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt to lead their backfield, both of whom recorded over 1,000 yards from scrimmage last year. But with Beckham as a deep threat, there could be more holes for those backs. And if defenses try to stop the run, then Beckham may beat them over the top.
The expectations are high for Cleveland, but at this point, the team seems set up to meet them.