So much of the hype behind the Cleveland Browns entering the 2019 season rested on the strength of their Pro Bowl wide receiver tandem of Jarvis Landry and the recently-acquired Odell Beckham, Jr. A number of outlets even dubbed them the best wide receiver duo in the NFL, before they ever played a professional snap together (even if they were college teammates).
The problem was, neither of them had the chance to hit the ground running. Both of them suffered and played through groin injuries throughout the entirety of the 2019 season. And both of them ended up electing to have surgery early in the offseason to repair said injuries.
He still managed to play in all 16 games, catching 83 passes for 1174 yards (actually a career high), with six touchdowns, and he even ended up making the Pro Bowl, though I’m sure there were others equally deserving who did not.
One of Landry’s career goals is to never miss a game, something that the had set in his mind even before he was drafted. Of course sometimes that’s out of your reach, for example, if you break your leg. But many injuries you can play through. That was what Landry did last year, but as a result, he’s now rehabbing that injury.
“Right now, I’m still a little bit ahead of schedule”, he told the team’s website of his rehab process. “It’s just taking it day-by-day. I’ve had a great opportunity to continue working with the doctors and the staff. Everything has just been enhanced from what I’ve always done in the past. It’s forced me to be more creative with the workout equipment I’ve had and the new equipment I’ve managed, but I can do the things to make sure I can play”.
He recalls that he was not even decided upon having surgery until not just at the end of the Browns’ season, but after the Pro Bowl, during which he participated. “I was going to try to put it off and play as the tough guy for one more year”, he admitted, “but I just understood where I was and the things that my injury was not allowing me to do. I did not want to be part of the reason for the team to not have success or for myself to not have success”.
Their top two wide receivers being less than 100 percent is not the only reason the Browns went just 6-10 last year, of course. There were a lot of reasons, including a shaky-at-best offensive line, mediocre play from the quarterback position, and highly questionable coaching competence.
But having Landry and Beckham back fully healthy should certainly help fix some of the problems. Meanwhile, many of the others—the offensive line, the coaching staff—have been addressed. Much of the burden now falls on Baker Mayfield, who may have as much pressure on his shoulders as anybody in the league in 2020.