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Odell Beckham Jr. smells blood in the red zone, but Browns' touchdown woes persist

Marla Ridenour, Akron Beacon Journal on

Published in Football

BEREA, Ohio -- Odell Beckham Jr. said he can "smell blood" when he gets close to the end zone.

But with the Browns, the star wide receiver has rarely been able to taste it.

The March trade with the New York Giants for the three-time Pro Bowler was supposed to make the Browns an explosive offense that would pile up the points. But Beckham has seemed to be an afterthought, especially when the team reaches the 20-yard line.

Going into Sunday's home game against the Buffalo Bills, Beckham has 39 catches on 67 targets for 575 yards and a touchdown for the Browns (2-6). In the red zone, he has just one catch on four targets for 7 yards, according to pro-football-reference.com.

The Browns' red zone offense ranks 25th in the league with a touchdown percentage of 46.2. (In comparison, the Bills lead the league at 71.4 percent.) It's a primary focus after the Browns scored just one TD in five trips to the red zone in last Sunday's 24-19 loss at Denver.

Beckham wants to help, but said it's been a problem for more than this season. But statistics don't bear that out.

 

In his previous five years with the New York Giants, he had 25 red zone touchdowns; he still ranks eighth in the league in that category from 2014-19. He's also tied for 10th in red zone receptions (47) in that same span.

"Doing my job. I don't call the plays; I do what I'm told," Beckham said Thursday. "When it gets down in the red zone for the past four to five years, I don't know how many targets I've really had. I get down there, they're going to double, they're going to play two high shell to my side, the safeties locked in on me, so it's tough."

Beckham thinks if the Browns start to have success, he might find more space to exploit.

"The more we get down in the red zone and have more efficiency, the looser teams will have to play, they'll have to find a way to adjust," Beckham said. "Until we do better in the red zone, all of us, it's going to be tough to feel like I need to get the ball when we get down there.

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