Last Sunday, the Cleveland Browns defeated Jarvis Landry’s former team, the Miami Dolphins, by 17 points. Landry led the team in targets (13), receptions (10), receiving yards (148), and touchdowns (2).
Odell Beckham Jr., like he has done in many games this season, trailed Landry, landing in second on the team in all of those categories.
Landry ended Sunday’s contest with a Pro Football Focus (PFF) grade of 89.1, significantly higher than Beckham’s 67.8.
On the season, Landy and Beckham are tied in targets with 97, but Landry leads the team in receptions (59), receiving yards (843), and touchdowns (5). Baker Mayfield pushes the ball downfield to Beckham more frequently, as evidenced by his 1,140 total air yards. Unfortunately, he has been less effective when targeted.
Landry is averaging 9.1 yards per target compared to Beckham at 11.8. Beckham receives over 35% of the team’s total air yards market share, Landry trailing him by 8%. Both players have a target share of 26%.
Landry’s performance against the Dolphins is likely an isolated incident of the Browns forcing him the ball in his first game against the team that traded him away two seasons ago. Freddie Kitchens, in a game that quickly saw the Browns take a large lead, called Landry’s name more frequently than most.
10 catches. 148 yards. 2 TDs.
— NFL (@NFL) November 25, 2019
Landry’s offensive role is much different than that of Beckham, and the Browns’ offensive line struggling to hold a clean pocket for Mayfield is part of the reason that Beckham is underperforming. Mayfield targets Landry on shorter, safer routes, and the offensive line needs to hold a clean pocket for less time.
However, even in the red zone, Landry is the more popular target. He is second in the league with 16 red zone targets, catching 10 passes for 67 yards and 5 touchdowns. Beckham, inside the 20-yard line, has 6 targets for 1 catch, 7 yards, and 0 touchdowns.
Regardless of talent level, Landry is Mayfield’s favorite receiving option.
It should be noted that Beckham is dealing with some of the best cornerbacks in the league, taking talent away from Landry. He is double-teamed on certain plays, as well.
As far as pure athleticism is concerned, Beckham is one of the best wide receivers in the league.
However, in the Browns’ current offensive system, Landry seems to be the more suitable wide receiver. He is a large part of the Browns’ recent success on offense, and instead of forcing the ball in OBJ’s direction, perhaps the shorter routes to Landry and Kareem Hunt need to be used more frequently.
This week, Landry and Beckham get a repeat matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers.