Browns' Baker Mayfield Wants to 'Force Feed' Odell Beckham Jr. Amid Struggles

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistNovember 7, 2019

CLEVELAND, OHIO - OCTOBER 13: Odell Beckham #13 celebrates with Baker Mayfield #6 of the Cleveland Browns after Mayfield ran in a touchdown during the first quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 13, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images

With the Cleveland Browns sitting at 2-6 on the season, quarterback Baker Mayfield wants to get the football to three-time Pro Bowl wideout Odell Beckham Jr. more frequently. 

Mayfield told reporters Wednesday that the team needs to try to "force feed" Beckham moving forward, per ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio:

"I think people have this picture perfect thing where it was going to be sunshine and rainbows, and he was going to have a whole lot of one-on-ones. It is Odell Beckham. He is going to have double coverage, and we have to find ways to format things to get him the ball and force feed him early on to where he can make an impact before we can have the perfect look to have a shot play. That is something we have learned the hard way, but I think as the weeks have gone on, we are continuing to improve on how to get the ball to him."

The offseason acquisition of Beckham was expected to give Cleveland one of the most potent offenses in football, given the team's roster already featured Mayfield, Jarvis Landry and Nick Chubb, among others. However, the former New York Giants star has yet to make a dramatic impact—in part because he's not getting his typical workload.

During his five-year run in the Big Apple, Beckham averaged 10.5 targets per game. He is averaging a career-low 8.4 targets per game this season, reaching double digits just three times in eight outings.

Beckham's usage came into question in Week 9 when Mayfield opted not to throw the ball in the direction of No. 13 on a crucial 4th-and-4 near the end of a 24-19 loss to the Denver Broncos. It appeared Beckham—who saw just six targets in the game—had Broncos corner Chris Harris Jr. beat down the sideline, but Mayfield threw a shorter pass to Landry, which fell incomplete.

CBS sideline reporter Jay Feely (h/t Keith Britton of 92.3 The Fan) reported Beckham said, "I can't get the ball to save my life" following the play.

Cleveland never got the ball back following the turnover on downs en route to a fourth consecutive loss.

Despite a relatively limited number of targets, Beckham has 39 receptions for 575 yards and one touchdown during the first half of the season. At his current pace, he would eclipse the 1,000-yard mark for the fifth time in his six-year career, with the lone exception coming when he was limited to just four games in 2017 due to an ankle injury.

His 14.7 yards per reception would be his second-best mark over the course of a full season.

Cleveland has arguably one of the most talented set of playmakers in the NFL, but the results have not reflected that in Freddie Kitchens' first year as head coach. The Browns rank 25th in the league at 19 points per game. They have scored more than 19 points just once over the past six games.

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