Baker Mayfield is not a good quarterback; that’s apparent. However, is one of the most talented receivers in the NFL, making him worse?
Baker Mayfield has to stop relying on Odell’s ability
Ever since Odell Beckham Jr. joined the Clevland Browns in 2019, the Browns have vastly underperformed for their talent. And not just the team record, Odell’s stats have not been great either. Why is this? Why is Odell not having good seasons? Well, that answer falls to the QB.
Baker is significantly better without Odell. The numbers prove it. Baker’s completion percentage targeting other receivers this season is 78.6%, with an off-target rate of just 10.7% and QBR of 96.2, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
While targeting Odell, Baker’s off-target percentage rose to 28.2% while his QBR dropped to 73.7. Baker’s completion rate to Odell, meanwhile, was just 59.9%. In fact, in the last two seasons, Baker and Odell have the worst completion success rate (55.6%) of any duo in the NFL (with at least 100 attempts).
Baker Mayfield is better off going somewhere else with the ball
Why is this the case? Why is Baker worse when he throws to Odell? The problem is Odell is so talented that even when he is getting blanketed, his ability to make improbable catches makes Baker throw to him more even though it is still a bad read.
Furthermore, when Baker goes through his progression and can find a better option, he has significantly more success. Players like Odell are not suitable for young QB’s. Without the proper development that a veteran QB might have, throws to a double-covered Odell are not the best options.
Odell looked so good with the Giants because Eli Manning was a veteran and Super Bowl champion. Eli knew when Odell was open and when he wasn’t. Baker has not gotten that in his head yet.
Odell is an excellent receiver with superstar talent, that is true. However, continually trying to fit throws into tight windows with him is not good for the QB or Odell. Odell cannot be expected to make one-handed circus catches every play. He is still a receiver and has to be open for the throws to make sense.
Even the other Browns receivers know, no Odell will help Baker
That may be the weirdest quote I’ve ever read in my life. However, there is a method to the madness. Higgins knows not having Odell isn’t good for the team. It limits the offensive playcalling you can make with someone of Odell’s abilities. But Higgins knows Baker will look a lot better when he isn’t trying to force-feed Odell.
Once Baker grows up a little bit as a signal-caller, this trend will continue. He must realize when Odell isn’t open; he doesn’t deserve the ball. You cannot throw the ball into double or triple coverage based on a player’s talent and ability; it is still a bad throw. Odell can bail you out of bad passes, but expecting him to do that week in and week out is not a successful formula.