Jarvis Landry Going Leaner, Why It's Smart

Jarvis Landry noted in his YouTube series that he wants to play leaner in 2021, having played heavier the previous season. It's a smart move for Landry and the Cleveland Browns.
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Cleveland Browns wide receiver said in the first episode of his YouTube series "Just Juice" that he finished the 2020 season at 212 or 213 pounds, that he's currently 197 in training and suggests that's where he wants to be.

In a conversation with his trainer, Mo Wells, when they were working out at Lake Travis High School near Baker Mayfield's home in Texas, Landry mentioned his weight.

The video is definitely entertaining, but it has language that isn't safe for work and may not be what parents want children to hear.

"I wanna maintain. Like when I finished the season, when I started training, I was 212. 213." - Landry

"What are you at now?" - Wells

"197." - Landry

Landry goes on to talk about the fact he hasn't been that lean since his second year in the NFL. He appreciates the strength he had, but hasn't been as quick.

In other words, Landry wants to play smaller and quicker than he has the last several seasons, which makes a ton of sense with the Browns.

Landry has been utilized as a wing and a slot player, both of which gave him good angles to block. The added strength allowed him to be more effective in that role and he's been an excellent blocker dating back to his collegiate days at LSU. With the Browns, it has allowed them to crack and stalk block opponents to create running lanes.

The trade off is quickness in creating separation. And in his three seasons with the Browns, Landry's receiving production has been well below his own standards.

Against the Kansas City Chiefs in the playoff game, he couldn't get open and had a dismal performance. It highlighted a problem that had been there all season and combined with issues with his hip and ribs, it exacerbated a problem that already needed addressing.

Just this offseason, Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Devin Bush bragged that he could shut down Landry in coverage. Perhaps if Landry truly was at over 210 pounds, Bush could.

At around 197 pounds, that makes him a bigger matchup problem for the Steelers and the aforementioned Bush, which shouldn't be lost on anyone.

Added quickness could make a big difference for Landry receiving threat, but it also helps him to distinguish his skill set from the tight ends on this team. That lost quickness made Landry redundant and increasingly unnecessary when the Browns could simply field tight ends with more height and weight. In the case of David Njoku and Austin Hooper, they are simply better athletes.

The other aspect that hurts Landry in this situation is Kareem Hunt, who is in that size range, but much stronger and more impactful with the ball in his hands. He can play out in space and provide different elements that can be a difficult matchup.

So in order to make himself special, Landry is going to play quicker and leaner with the hopes of bringing a different dynamic on offense. He should see far less time in a wing position as it simply makes more sense to use a player like Harrison Bryant in that role. Landry can hopefully stretch the offense laterally more than he did in previous seasons and add on to some elements that he did well before Beckham went down. It could also help him after the catch, which is something the Browns need more of from everyone.

The route that stood out early in the year from Landry when the team had better spacing was the sail route. An 18-25 yard crossing route working across the field allows him to find holes in the defense taking advantage of space created by Beckham and other vertical threats.

That's the other notable difference from last season that could make Landry's role fit a better niche. With Beckham coming back, a player like Donovan Peoples-Jones hopefully progressing in his development and the addition of Anthony Schwartz, the Browns have a wide array of body types and skill sets. This should allow Landry to excel in a few important areas as opposed to being rather ordinary in a wider array of them.

Last but certainly not least, Landry has earned a sterling reputation when it comes to toughness. He plays through anything. Only a COVID-19 exposure could keep him out of a game this season.

However, Landry has also played through a number of nagging issues during his three years in Cleveland, including a hip issue that led to offseason surgery, some pain after that surgery and broken ribs. In fact, Landry's best season with the Browns to date, 2019, was when he was playing through the most pain.

A dozen fewer pounds on his frame combined with less reliance on him on the line of scrimmage could see Landry played with the least amount of wear and tear through a season. That could certainly lead to a better year as a pass catcher.

The Browns have done a great job of getting wide receivers and tight ends to be a major part of the blocking scheme running the ball including Landry, which is part of the reason he can play smaller, but the best course of action for both Landry and the team is to get him to be more productive than he has been in his three seasons. This could go a long way in improving that element of his game, which helps the team as a whole.

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