Pats Face Browns Receivers in the Post-OBJ Era
The biggest news in the Browns wide receiver room is that superstar Odell Beckham Jr. is not available to dazzle the Patriots and their fans with one-handed drops in Foxborough this Sunday.
However, almost literally as soon as Odell left, Mayfield connected with Donovan Peoples-Jones on a 60-yard bomb versus the Bengals last Sunday. Incidentally, Mayfield and Peoples-Jones have the unique distinction of having connected earlier this season on the longest pass in the air since Next Gen Stats started recording such stats in 2016, a 57-yard Hail Mary versus Arizona that traveled 66 yards. DPJ is averaging 20.9 yards per catch this year, which will have to be contained by JC Jackson.
Jarvis Landry is very familiar to Patriots fans after starring against New England as a Miami Dolphin (and usually losing, of course). He’s not the burner that Peoples-Jones is, but he can get open and has good hands, a lot like Jakobi Meyers. The same goes for veteran Rashard Higgins.
The Browns have a green rookie in Anthony Schwartz, who is blinding fast, as evidenced by a 4.27-second 40-yard dash at his Pro Day. Matt Patricia and Co. are going to have to make sure the secondary isn’t letting anything behind them. However, you don’t score points by running 40-yard dashes, and so far Schwartz is still learning the fundamentals while serving as the team’s kick returner.
The Browns are willing to use all three of their tight ends either as blockers or receivers, depending on the situation. David Njoku is the best blocker and the best receiver (he leads the team in receiving yards). His catch percentage is a robust 77.8%. Two-time Pro Bowler Austin Hooper is the other starter with 183 yards and 66.7% catch percentage. Second-year man Harrison Bryant is blocking well and has 143 yards and 68.8% catch percentage.
It’s going to be a busy day for the Patriots’ linebackers and safeties.