Late last week, I wrote about the Baltimore Ravens and how they now have a crowded backfield with Mark Ingram, Gus Edwards, Justice Hill, and second-round rookie J.K. Dobbins—not to mention quarterback Lamar Jackson, who led the team in rushing. Edwards said that while the room is crowded, he believes offensive coordinator Greg Roman can keep them all happy.
Meanwhile, the Cleveland Browns are hoping to do the same thing with their two star wide receivers, Odell Beckham, Jr. and Jarvis Landry. Both topped 1000 yards last year, but their seasons were fairly underwhelming by their own prior standards. That wasn’t just because they never had to split targets in the NFL before, of course.
Chad O’Shea, the team’s new passing game coordinator, believes that they can manage both of these strong personalities, who are also among the most vocal on the team—and both of whom have been acquired via trade, perhaps not with their consent, over the past two years.
And his reasoning for his belief that they will be able to keep the two star wide receivers content didn’t have anything to do with talking about how they will distribute the ball. Instead, he believes that they will buy into Kevin Stefanski’s offense and his philosophy, putting the team above the individual.
“We’re going to try to put the team first and we’re going to try to put winning first”, he told Cleveland.com. “They realize that. They embrace that. They’re also aware that there are other players at other positions that will help us win games and who are capable of really helping us. Everybody’s role is kind of what you make it. I see it as a real good problem to have where you have a lot of opportunities and a lot of players that can really help us win”.
On paper, the Browns do look like they have a stacked offense. In the backfield in particular, their combination of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt may be as good as it gets in the NFL. A David Njoku returning healthy at tight end will now be paired with Austin Hooper.
One thing the team doesn’t have is a third wide receiver who is really going to scare you. Sure, they still have a Rashard Higgins or a Damion Ratley, but at this point, if you disregard their top two, the Browns may have the weakest wide receiver group in the division. At least the Ravens added Devin Duvernay, with Will Snead already there. The Steelers have Diontae Johnson and now Chase Claypool. The Bengals added Tee Higgins, and have John Ross, among others.
That lack of a major third wide receiver will more than anything keep Beckham and Landry happy, assuming that they can be kept happy, because they won’t have a lot of competition within their position group for targets. Last year, they both had over 130 targets. Nobody else had even 50. Ratley’s 24 was the most by another wide receiver.