Baker Mayfield has positioned the Browns to not only make the playoffs, but potentially win the division. This comes with not having dynamic wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. for most of the season. Is Mayfield better without OBJ? Numbers don’t lie and they are saying that Mayfield is indeed better without OBJ.
Let’s take a DeLorean back to the 2019 season where the Browns finished 6-10. That season, Mayfield threw for 3,827 yards, 22 touchdowns and 21 interceptions, not great for a second-year quarterback. You’d think Mayfield would have a better year with two stud receivers in OBJ and Jarvis Landry. This was not the case. When your touchdown to interception ratio is almost 1-1, you’re not playing at a high level. This had to do with OBJ.
He wasn’t playing at the same level when he was with the Giants. Last year he was the 10th most targeted receiver but only had a catch percentage of 55.6 percent. For a guy who is praised for being able to catch anything, he didn’t show off his elite catching ability. Out of the top 50 most targeted players in 2019, he ranked 44th best in catch percentage — not great for one of the league’s best wideouts. For a guy who was supposed to come in and make Mayfield better, he dropped the ball.
Now let us take the DeLorean back to the first six weeks of the 2020 season. OBJ played in six games and only put up 23 receptions, 319 yards and 3 touchdowns with a catch percentage of 53 percent. OBJ has just not been the same player he once was with the Giants. He has Landry on the other side taking away double teams, so this horrible catch percentage is not warranted.
Mayfield tends to force feed OBJ the ball out of fear the diva might shut down because he’s not getting the ball. OBJ publicly said he gets “frustrated” when he doesn’t get the ball.
OBJ’s injury was a blessing in disguise for Mayfield and the Browns. The Browns have gone 6-2 after the OBJ injury and are currently 10-4. They could make a serious run in the playoffs especially with how well Mayfield has been playing.
Before the injury to OBJ, Mayfield was playing like ass. He was averaging 182 yards, 1.7 touchdowns, 1.17 interceptions per game and a quarterback rating of 86.3. The Browns were 4-2 but they looked like they were suspect. Since the OBJ injury, Mayfield has been balling out. He is averaging 248 yards, 1.86 touchdowns and .33 interceptions with a 104.8 quarterback rating in the last 8 games without OBJ. The fact Mayfield boosted his numbers while OBJ was out is a sign that Mayfield wasn’t the problem. Media outlets like Fansided had the Browns dead in the water because they lost the crying diva, this was not the case. No longer having to stroke OBJ’s ego, the offense is 10th best in the league. Trading for OBJ was a mistake. The Browns should have stuck with Jarvis Landry as their star receiver.
Landry is a great player and leader, something that was evident in his speech on “Hard Knocks.” I would rather give that type of guy the targets over a it’s all about me diva like OBJ. Rewarding team first players is a recipe for success in the NFL. Jerry Rice said it best on 95.7 The Game:
“I don’t care if I’m the one, the second, or the third receiver. It was all about me winning Super Bowls for the city of San Francisco, my teammates and my family.”Jerry RIce
I don’t care what T.O. says, Jerry Rice is the greatest receiver of all time and maybe OBJ should take some advice from an all-time great.
The Browns should consider trading OBJ. They are better without him. Getting draft compensation to build upon a decent roster can go a long way in the pursuit of a Super Bowl. Get the headache that is OBJ out of that organization and I promise you he will not be missed. The numbers are already screaming, “get this man away from the Browns.”