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Baker Mayfield Trying Too Hard to Get the Ball to Odell Beckham

The game against the Cincinnati Bengals provided the worst results this season as it relates to Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield trying to get the ball to Odell Beckham. It's become a debilitating problem for the offense and is mostly on Mayfield.
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The Cleveland Browns should continue working to maximize Odell Beckham these next three games in preparation for 2020. Despite the sports hernia he is dealing with, he is an asset to the offense and obviously will have that condition treated in the offseason, enabling him to return to his superstar form next year. The biggest problem with the connection between Beckham and Baker Mayfield hasn't been Beckham or the play calling. It's largely been on Mayfield, forcing passes to Beckham, often late which has put him in dangerous situations, which is counterproductive to the offense.

The game against the Cincinnati Bengals was the epitome of this situation, where Mayfield was pretty solid throwing to anyone else, save for a badly thrown interception that missed a wide open receiver down the field due to poor mechanics. On throws to Beckham, Mayfield forced a hitch that was intercepted, only to be reversed on review due to defensive pass interference, put Beckham in harm's way throwing him into the air between three defenders that had him take a shot in his man region, and was late on several other throws.

Undoubtedly, Beckham is always going to lobby for the ball, will insist he's always open even when he isn't, but Mayfield has to make smart decisions with the football and much of this season, as it has related to Beckham, he hasn't. So much of the rest of the offense seems to flow more naturally, especially going to Jarvis Landry and the backs out of the backfield as well as some of the tight ends.

With Beckham, it feels forced and it shouldn't. He should be a natural part of the offense. On the hitch that was intercepted and then overruled, he had an open hitch on the other side of the field. When he led Beckham into the air between three defenders, he had Landry on an open drag. The coaching staff isn't telling Mayfield to force the ball to Beckham. He's doing it himself.

This doesn't seem to be a situation where Mayfield is trying to get the ball to Beckham to keep him happy, though that could play an ancillary role. More than anything, it seems as though Mayfield recognizes what Beckham can be within this offense and is trying,  too hard at points, to get that out of him, believing that if they can unlock that part of the offense, the team will take off. The fact that Mayfield wants that to happen so badly is resulting in some truly awful football.

Mayfield's heart may be in the right place, but his actions have the potential to kill his team as well as Beckham as it showed against the Bengals. The Browns need to get the best out of Beckham, compromised by the hernia or not, but it needs to be within the flow of the offense. The coaching staff may need to do more to create beneficial situations to get Beckham the ball, but it's on Mayfield to execute the offense. Against the Bengals, he didn't do that and if it wasn't against a team like the Bengals, it likely would've resulted in a loss. Mayfield is better than that and has to perform better.