The Browns have hopes of breaking their playoff drought in 2020. They won’t achieve that lofty goal if they lose Odell Beckham to injury.
Odell Beckham might not be the dominant NFL receiver he believes himself to be, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t an important part of the Browns’ offense. His ability to stretch the field from his wide receiver position is crucial to Cleveland’s hopes of making the playoffs in 2020.
Unfortunately for the Browns, Beckham’s status is now in question after suffering an injury early in the team’s Week 7 matchup against the Bengals. The former LSU standout actually suffered the knee injury trying to make a tackle after a Baker Mayfield interception.
Losing Beckham wouldn’t leave the Browns offense entirely bereft of dangerous pass-catchers, but it would still prove to be a fatal blow for Kevin Stefanski and his coaching staff.
Beckham is the only receiver Cleveland has that can really threaten opposing defenses down the field. That makes him the top name on every defensive coordinator’s scouting report when they prepare to take on the Browns.
Jarvis Landry is a quality No. 2 receiver for Cleveland, but he lacks the explosive athleticism required to function as the team’s top option. Opposing secondaries would find it easy to contain Landry with double coverage.
Tight end Austin Hooper’s effectiveness would also be severely blunted down the field. Safeties would simply sit deep to guard against his pass routes down the seam without any concern of Beckham making big plays on the perimeter.
Of course, the biggest loser on the Browns roster without Beckham in the fold is his quarterback. Mayfield has already struggled with inaccuracy this season in both of Cleveland’s losses. His production benefits from Beckham’s ability to take short passes and turn them into long gains with his ability to make yards after the catch.
Losing Beckham will only serve to shrink the throwing windows that Mayfield is already struggling to throw into.
The Browns have the roster talent required to stay afloat without Beckham for a few weeks, but their postseason hopes are effectively over if he’s forced to sit out the remainder of the 2020 season.
Beckham’s too important to Cleveland’s high-powered offense for them to succeed consistently in his absence. He may not be his team’s most important player, but he is too important for the Browns to lose for any significant period of time.