It seems unbelievable, but we’re already in week 7 of the 2021 regular season.
Although, it hasn’t gone as expected for the Cleveland Browns thus far.
Through seven games, the Browns currently sit at 4-3, which is below expectations.
There are a handful of factors as to why the Browns aren’t playing up to standards.
However, a big reason why is the poor play by some star players.
1. Odell Beckham Jr.
At some point, wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. needs to be held accountable for his poor play.
Last season, OBJ got a pass because he suffered a season-ending ACL tear mid-season.
However, he mentioned multiple times in the offseason that he was back to full health and ready to make an impact in 2021.
Well, Browns fans are still waiting for OBJ to show up and make that splash he was talking about.
Through five games, Beckham has 16 receptions, 226 yards, and has zero touchdowns.
The three-time Pro Bowl wideout is held to higher standards due to his superstar abilities.
Although, OBJ continues to come up at the bottom of the stat sheet seemingly every week.
The talent is obviously there, but Beckham needs to step up and play up to his standards.
Keenum ➡️ @obj #ThursdayNightFootball #nfl pic.twitter.com/zQze0qEuRl
— Sweet Flow (@SweetFlow18) October 22, 2021
The 28-year-old is into his third year in Cleveland and is still playing below average.
His performance needs to change quickly or OBJ could be a name in trade rumors soon.
The Browns cannot continue to have their No. 1 receiver playing like a backup.
2. Denzel Ward
The Browns were hopeful that defensive back Denzel Ward could be a superstar when they drafted him in the first round in 2018.
To be fair, Ward has played well during his first three seasons in Cleveland.
He has been selected to one Pro Bowl and has seven interceptions and 43 passes defended along the way.
Although, the 24-year-old hasn’t quite been the same in 2021.
Through seven games, Ward has 24 tackles, three passes defended, and zero interceptions.
This is not to say that Ward has been bad, but his play hasn’t been what is expected from a No. 1 defensive back.
It’s also worth noting that Ward has dealt with injuries during every season he has been in the league.
Possibly, the injuries have taken a toll on him or he is not playing as aggressively to try and avoid injury.
Regardless, this is quite concerning for a Browns secondary that cannot seemingly stop anyone.
Hopefully, Ward will turn it around in the second half of the season.
3. Rashard Higgins
Remember Rashard Higgins? Just wanted to refresh your memory since we haven’t seen much of him this season.
The 27-year-old had a breakout campaign with the Browns last season, but has been nowhere near as efficient in 2021.
Through seven games, Higgins has 12 receptions, 141 yards, and one touchdown with Cleveland.
That is a significant drop from what he was doing with the Browns a year ago.
Rashard Higgins 2020 Stats and ranking with the Browns receiving group WR-TE-RB
Targets: 61 3rd
Rec: 44 3rd
Catch%: 72.1 4th
Yards: 715 2nd
TD's: 4 4th
1st: 31 3rd
Catch Rate: 119.2 3rd
— ChadP71 6elieve (@chadp71) March 3, 2021
Possibly, the return of OBJ has hindered Higgins’ target share.
However, Beckham hasn’t been playing well and rookie Anthony Schwartz isn’t taking away many touches either.
The Browns also were without Jarvis Landry for a few weeks, but that hasn’t seemed to matter.
This season, Higgins has two games where he has finished with three receptions or more in a game.
A contributing factor could be the below-average play at the quarterback position.
Regardless, the Browns expected more out of Higgins after what they saw last season.
This is certainly frustrating, but the Browns still have time to pick up their performance before it’s too late.
In order for Higgins to catch the ball, he needs to be thrown the ball. OBJ hogs the throws or Baker is intimidated by OBJ. Either way, I have noticed that when Higgins is thrown the ball he catches it. OBJ drops it. Especially on 3rd or 4th downs.
Several experts who have studied OBJ on tape say he consistently gets open but doesn’t get the ball. The problem has been partly with the QB and injuries to the OL. There is still time for OBJ to make a big impact, he has only been back a short time after a significant injury and his has a shoulder issue. Just give OBJ a little more time, Browns still need a deep threat, it’s not Anthony Schwartz.
If more plays were drawn up for TEs, we’d have more success. One catch a game isn’t going to cut it. Hooper and Najuco are a couple of the best and would deliver given the chance.
I completely disagree with every point you made. First of all OBJ has only played in the last THREE games and a Ball Hog ? STFU!! Beyond that as with most Humans even attempting to play WR in the NFL with a 3rd Grade Shoulder Sprain Uhhhh Nope just trying to wash our damn hair wouldn’t happen. On to the Warden #21 have you even Watched a Single game or you just have ZERO Football IQ? He had one Off game thats It Period! Nuff said. And Now Hollywood WTF and Where Da Fuk you commin up with Dis Non Sense Every Time Wood is targeted he Has Caught It . The very few incompletions his way were either uncatchable or a DPI Was NOT Called. Have to say this who ever you are you Should never be asked for your opinion again.