Browns receiver Odell Beckham Jr. hasn’t had the impact on the team that many had envisioned. The man who traded for Beckham, however, thinks that the player is as good as advertised.
“I think Odell is one of the finest receivers I have ever been around, and I have been around a Hall of Fame receiver, too — that is James Lofton,” Browns G.M. John Dorsey told reporters on Wednesday. “I think James is one hell of a football player. Very rarely do you get to acquire a player like this.
“An example would be how many guys can make the catch he made in the New York Jets game? Or even if you go to the Seattle game, how many guys can make the catch that he made on the Seattle Seahawks sideline? Not very many guys can do that, but what people do not see or do not understand is defensive coordinators now are trying to take away Odell, which that frees up the backside for other receivers. That just goes to show you that Odell is one of those guys who is a selfless individual in terms of on the field and another thing you do not see is his run-blocking ability. I think he really does a nice job on the run-blocking part of it. I am happy we have him, and I think he is a really good football player.”
Dorsey’s assessment of Beckham’s skills is largely accurate, but his unabashed desire to get the football could be putting too much stress on the offense. While his presence does indeed open up the backside, as Dorsey said, if Beckham expects to get the ball even if he’s taken away, that’s a problem.
The other problem is the performance of quarterback Baker Mayfield, who simply isn’t the guy he was last year. Is the stress of getting the ball to Beckham a factor in that? Is the fact that Freddie Kitchens is now the head coach and not the offensive coordinator an issue.
Dorsey actually was asked on Wednesday whether it was a mistake for Kitchens to not keep Ken Zampese as the team’s quarterback’s coach.
“I think that Todd Monken, Ryan Lindley and Freddie Kitchens are very good at that quarterback position, and I think we are very lucky to have those three guys helping, assisting, teaching and growing No. 6,” Dorsey said.
That’s fine, but Mayfield isn’t growing on the trajectory that he was in 2018, and the biggest change to the offense has been the arrival of Beckham.