In his second game with the Los Angeles Rams, former Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. provided a little of everything, giving reasons for hope and concerns about just how much he can do this season.
Beckham's second game was three weeks since he arrived including a bye week where he could get more comfortable in the offense. It's really difficult to judge him on the first game given the fact he'd been there about 20 minutes.
Three weeks in, there was a little more to really dig into with him and this game was no more definitive. However, given the physical limitations that Matthew Stafford is dealing with due to injuries, it's unclear just how much they could accomplish.
Beckham only had one reception for five yards on four targets in the first half. That included at least one wildly off target throw from his new quarterback, Matthew Stafford for reasons that don't seem all that different from his previous quarterback, Baker Mayfield.
Both against the Packers and the San Francisco 49ers before the bye, Stafford had some brilliant throws, but was off on quite a few including a number of passes that were wildly off target or could have resulted in turnovers. And it wasn't just that he was missing in the way Stafford can occasionally be inconsistent. He genuinely seemed to be off due to the various injuries he's suffered.
Stafford has thrown a pair of interceptions resulting in touchdowns that coincidentally have happened with Beckham on the team. Neither had anything to do with the newly acquired receiver.
Beckham's production wasn't great in the first half, but he was beneficial to the Rams offense, opening space up for teammates. Van Jefferson may have benefited the most from that element, including a 79-yard touchdown reception. That dynamic was similar to the one in Cleveland.
Beckham's production or lack thereof in Cleveland was frustrating, but he did genuinely improve the viability of his teammates. Without him, the drop-off for the Browns at wide receiver has been precipitous and virtually none of them can beat man coverage.
In the second half, Beckham had significantly more production, giving reasons for optimism, but it came with a familiar catch. A 56-yard touchdown reception on a sluggo route seconds into the fourth quarter reduced the Packers lead to 36-25, giving them a pulse. The Rams unfortunately could not do anything with it and the Packers held on to get the win, winning 36-28.
With the loss of Robert Woods to an ACL tear, that type of play is important for a team that brought in Beckham with the hopes of adding him to their offense rather than taking the place of a key cog.
Unfortunately for Beckham, his back seemed to flare up after the touchdown. He took a shot to the ribs earlier in the game when he was unable to secure a slant on 3rd-and-3. After the touchdown, Beckham was receiving treatment while grimacing on the sideline in between plays he was on the field. It might have been related, though nothing has been confirmed to this point.
With the Browns, Beckham dislocated his shoulder in his first game of the season against the Chicago Bears. Later, he suffered a grade three AC joint sprain, the worst variety, an incredibly painful injury.
The hope for the Rams is that this issue he was dealing with against the Packers is a temporary one.
Beckham was able to catch three more passes, giving him a total of five receptions for 81 yards on ten targets. An inefficient game, he did produce a major splash play, which did not happen with the Browns this season.
So there's hope for the Rams with Beckham, but it may be reliant on Stafford's health as much as anything else. The lingering question with Beckham is whether or not he can provide the impact of a superstar, the unrealistic expectations being placed on him since joining the team.
Right now, Beckham looks like he can be a productive receiver for the Rams offense, but it may not mean all that much given the issues facing that team including the health of Stafford and a defense that has been brutally ineffective as the team has lost three games in a row.
There's plenty of time with six more regular season and potentially the postseason, but the situation may not enable Beckham to showcase himself to teams in free agency the way he had hoped it would.