After a disappointing finish last season, the highly talked about Cleveland Browns are now viewed as just one of the NFL’s most overrated teams. Between poor coaching in Freddie Kitchens, as well as Baker Mayfield and his chemistry issues, the most talked about team prior to week one is now looked upon as just another average team in the mix. But what actually happened to this potential “superteam”?
Back in March of 2019, the Cleveland Browns acquired one of the most skilled receivers in the game, Odell Beckham Jr. Just 7 months prior, Beckham had signed a massive extension with the New York Giants and was thought to be the future in the Big Apple. The shocking trade had turned the football world upside down and the internet went insane. After processing what actually happened, the new and improved Cleveland Browns went from the NFL’s laughing-stock to a possible contender. With another big addition in Kareem Hunt, the new-look Browns now had potentially one of the most stacked offenses in the league.
As the 2019 season went on, the chemistry between Baker Mayfield and OBJ obviously was not where it needed to be. The duo only connected on 74 passes for a total of 1,035 and 6 touchdowns, making Odell’s first season as a Brown one of his worst. As questions and rumors swirled that OBJ didn’t like Cleveland, there seemed to be a bigger issue that people overlooked.
Odell had been dealing with a core injury that definitely took a toll on his body during play. He didn’t look himself at all and his stats were evidence of that. Even Baker Mayfield said himself, “I don’t think it was handled right”. Coaches and medical staff did not treat the situation as they needed to. Odell lacked production and his unhealthy play has earned himself the title of one of the most overrated players in the NFL today.
Having had surgery this past winter, Odell is ready to put the 2019 season behind him. His grind and gritty mindset will help him become one of the most electrifying players he once was. Posting on his social media, he’s definitely been putting in his all to getting back to it. Working with guys like Cam Newton, Dwayne Haskins, N’Keal Harry and many others around the league, Odell is looking to get himself right.
People sleeping on OBJ this season are definitely going to be in for a surprise. The all-pro receiver is looking to be back in the discussion of top wideouts in the league. He’s been able to overcome injuries before and can most-definitely do it again. He’s spoken about his new, work-horse mindset and has made it loud and clear business will be back to usual.
Beckham has put up big numbers every single season in his career. With hard work and determination, he will get right back to where he was before this injury. He has put up 1000 plus yards all but one season in his career, earned himself multiple pro-bowl invites and has earned many rookie records. With many accolades to his name already, the 27 year old has plenty of football left to play.
After a down year in Cleveland, Beckham has made it known that he’s not giving up. Most key players in Cleveland have made it known they’re working on getting the kinks out and turning the organization around.
Dealing with poor coaching and chemistry issues, the Browns seem to understand what went right and wrong last year. Firing Freddie Kitchens and changing up the coaching staff, the new system will help incorporate both Beckham and Jarvis Landry together rather than two separate pieces. A key addition this off-season in Austin Hooper will also add firepower to the offense.
With a hungry Cleveland squad and a healthy OBJ, the Browns are looking to become what they were once thought of as a “super-team”. Getting Beckham back healthy will definitely be the best first step in proving that. Things in Cleveland are starting to pan out which is definitely exciting to see. If Beckham is back to his normal self, he will put up another great season and be back on top. With his viral catches and dope accessories, we can only wait to see what OBJ brings to the field this season.
Photo: Rick Scuteri / Associated Press