Realistically, Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. may well have gone from a team with a bottom-10 quarterback to a team with a top-10 quarterback when the New York Giants agreed to send him to the formerly lowly Ohio rivals of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Eli Manning might be a two-time Super Bowl MVP and be in the top 10 in many career quarterback statistics, but not many would put him in the conversation as being within the top half of the league at his position as he hastily approaches the end of his career.
At the very least, Beckham appears to be excited about the prospect of working with Baker Mayfield in the Brown’s offense this year. He spoke to reporters yesterday and said of the connection between the two, “once you get on the same page, I just feel like it’s going to be scary”.
He did admit that they are still working on getting on the same page. Beckham skipped OTAs earlier this year, reporting only for minicamp, so a week or so into training camp still doesn’t account for a lot of time established together working on building that rapport on the practice field.
“I just let him tell me what he thinks I should do and I’m just going to do that. He’s going to put it where it needs to be”, Beckham said of his growing relationship with Mayfield, understanding that while he is the veteran All-Pro wide receiver, this is Mayfield’s offense. The latter was the first-overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, and set the rookie record for touchdown passes in a season.
“When we get on the field, it’s time to work”, he added, when asked about the quarterback getting on his receivers when things go awry. “That’s the general and we’re all the chiefs. Him yelling at us to ‘get back to the ball, get back to the ball’ there’s no problem with it. I completely understand it”.
Of course, he said similar things in New York being ‘completely understanding’ why things were a certain way, only to give a GQ interview a few weeks ago in which he vented his frustrations with many of those same things. Perhaps he’s not so thrilled about the hard coaching from a young quarterback after all, but it doesn’t necessarily matter, either, as long as he plays and doesn’t raise issues.
“Communication is the key to life. It’s essential”, he added. “If we didn’t like something or if I did something wrong, go ask him. There’s no egos or nothing here. We both are competitive people who want to win, and when you’ve got a guy like that, you never want to let him down”.
It goes without saying that the Browns are going to be one of the most interesting teams to follow this year, just to see how the season unfolds. The expectations have been set for them, starting at no less than winning the division. Can they live up to it?