Kevin Stefanski says “I have to do a better job” with Odell Beckham Jr. a non-factor offensively for Browns


CLEVELAND, Ohio (92.3 The Fan) – The numbers don’t lie.

Odell Beckham Jr. is a non-factor within the Browns offense.

In Sunday’s 15-10 loss to the Steelers, the football was thrown to him twice.

The result: one catch, 6 yards and a roughing the passer penalty.

“I would tell you first and foremost, I need to do a better job. I really do,” head coach Kevin Stefanski said Monday. “I need to make sure that I put him in position to make some plays, and I did not do a good enough job certainly yesterday.”

The stunning lack of targets and effective use of Beckham is just one of many problems the Browns have offensively, but Stefanski remains steadfast that he is getting something out of the $14.5 million they are paying the three-time Pro Bowler this year not to catch passes or score touchdowns.

“He gets a lot of attention from the defense,” Stefanski said. “There were a bunch of plays where the safety is cheating to him, and that opens up opportunities for other guys. I think of an early third down that we had where the post safety stayed to the boundary side because he was cheating towards Odell, and we hit a big play to Jarvis.

“His effect on our offense is there, but I do need to do a better job of making sure that the ball makes its way into his hands.”

When the Browns acquired Beckham, granted that was a coach and GM ago, the excitement of adding a prolific playmaker to the offense alongside Jarvis Landry had many – us included – thinking the Browns were about to become Super Bowl contenders with one of the league’s most exciting offenses.

Coming off an 11-5 campaign and a divisional round exit in January Super Bowl contender felt like a legitimate expectation, but to date, the Browns have been super average.

Injuries to Beckham have certainly taken their toll.

His first season here in 2019 Beckham played with a core muscle injury he suffered during training camp yet managed to cross 1,000 yards receiving during the Freddie Kitchens 6-10 disaster.

Last year Beckham tore his ACL in Week 7 costing him the remainder of the season. He returned in Week 3 this year where his contributions have been limited to being a decoy and downfield blocker.

Stefanski claims he still believes Beckham is a dynamic player, but his offense and the use of Beckham does not reflect that.

“I do. Yeah, I do based off of what I see from him each week,” Stefanski said. “Again, I just think he can affect the game. That is where I am really making sure that myself and coaches we have to put him in position to make some plays.”

In six games Beckham has been targeted 34 times this season and he has 17 catches for 232 yards with no touchdowns.

Since the blockbuster trade with the Giants Beckham has totaled 114 catches on 210 targets for 1,586 yards and seven touchdowns as a Brown.

Beckham’s lone chance to impact Sunday’s game came with just under 3 minutes to play when Mayfield threw one deep over the middle on a second-and-10 at the Steeler 39. Beckham reached up with his right hand to try to make a one-handed catch but the pass fell incomplete.

“We have to find ways to format it and get the ball in his hands,” quarterback Baker Mayfield said after the game. “We are not trying to force it to anybody. We have a talented skill group so I just have to continue to go through my reads and do that. We can do a better job of getting the ball in his hands, getting him going early and fixing that.”

A roughing the passer penalty gave Cleveland 15 yards, but the play was emblematic of the disconnect between Beckham, Mayfield and Stefanski’s offense.

“The ball was not really designed to go there necessarily,” Stefanski revealed Monday. “They played a coverage I was not anticipating, and we just did not connect on that. That would have been a difficult catch.”

Stefanski was asked point blank Monday if Beckham even fits into his offense, to which he had no answer other than to fall back on the sword of blaming himself.

“I think you are not going to like to hear it, but I need to do a better job,” Stefanski said. “We scored 10 points, so I certainly have to do a better job there.”

Featured Image Photo Credit: Jeff Lange / USA TODAY NETWORK