The Cleveland Browns not so quietly built a potentially very good offense over the course of the past few years, starting with the drafting of Baker Mayfield and Nick Chubb in 2018. Then they made the big moves to acquire Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. via trades. They added tight ends in the draft in free agency, and rebuilt the offensive line in the same fashion.
This offseason has been dedicated to doing to same for the defensive side of the ball, with additions such as Jadeveon Clowney, Troy Hill, John Johnson, Malik Jackson, Takk McKinley, Greg Newsome.
While the solidification of the defense can be crucial, it’s quite possible that the biggest development for the team this offseason is the return of Beckham, who missed most of last season after suffering a torn ACL trying to chase down a defender who intercepted Mayfield in game seven.
“Man, he looked amazing”, his good friend, Landry, recently told reporters as the two participated in a charity softball event, via ESPN. “I can’t wait for you guys to see him. I can’t wait for him to get back out there. He’s in fantastic shape and he’s ready to go. He’s only what, six and a half months, and he’s already doing some things that will blow your mind away”.
Beckham, as mentioned, tore his ACL chasing a defender after an interception. That came in a Week 7 game against the Cincinnati Bengals on just the second snap of the game. Through six games, he had caught 23 passes for 319 yards with three touchdowns.
Those might not sound like earth-shattering numbers, but the offense was still learning its identity with so much major reshuffling. Not only was the offensive line significantly different, with two new tackles, including a rookie on the left side, almost the entire coaching staff, including the head coach, was new.
Inserting Beckham back into this offense going into its second season—and with an actually proper offseason—could, unfortunately for the Pittsburgh Steelers and their fans, really be the cherry on top of potentially one of the top offenses in football.
Beckham’s first season in Cleveland was 2019. He put up 1,035 yards on 74 catches, although he only scored four touchdowns, in a sophomore slump of a season for Mayfield. Really, the better Mayfield is, the better Beckham will be as they find their footing as a duo, with Landry both complementing and, frankly, cheerleading as he watches his friend’s remarkable progress.
“He ran a post route, sticking off the same injured leg and exploding out of it, then going up, jumping off that same leg and making a catch, doing his thing — what he does with one hand”, he said in describing what he’s seen from Beckham in his rehab work. “You sit back and you’re like, ‘Wait. He’s even better than he was last year’”.