Browns coach Freddie Kitchens on Odell Beckham skipping OTAs as offense is installed: He's missed 'a lot'
Beckham has attended only one of nine voluntary OTAs
As the Browns install their offense under new coach Freddie Kitchens and new offensive coordinator Todd Monken at voluntary OTAs, they've been forced to do so without their best skill-position player, wide receiver Odell Beckham. According to Cleveland.com, Beckham has attended only one of nine OTAs, which isn't what the Browns expected of him, in addition to skipping the team's voluntary three-day extra minicamp.
Beckham's absence has finally been called into question by his coach. On Thursday, one day before the team's final OTA, Kitchens admitted that Beckham has missed "a lot -- the offense."
"I just want to see him," Kitchens said, per Cleveland.com.
And then there's what Monken said last week regarding the absence of both Beckham and Jarvis Landry, who is working his way back from an injury that is expected to prevent him from participating in minicamp next week. Monken called it "a challenge for our quarterbacks."
"You do what you can," Monken said, per Cleveland.com. "The most important part is we have a vast majority of our guys here. In terms of your installs, what we're doing offensively, our calls and our adjustments receiver-wise, it's obviously a challenge for our quarterbacks in terms of the receiving corps that are out there, but that's part of the deal. It's their job to make them right."
Just to reiterate, the sessions are voluntary. Beckham is not required to be there. He's hardly the only NFL player to skip voluntary OTAs. Even Tom Brady has the past two years, which certainly appears to go against the Patriots' "No Days Off" mantra. Beckham also isn't the only newcomer around the NFL to skip voluntary OTAs, as Le'Veon Bell has done with the Jets.
The Browns still have all of minicamp, training camp, and the preseason to master their new-look offense with Beckham. Provided he stays healthy, Beckham should remain one of the league's best receivers and the team's primary playmaker. Nobody should overreact to comments made by Kitchens at the end of May; it probably won't matter come September. Kitchens has previously indicated that while he wishes Beckham was with the team, he understands why he isn't.
"I have never disputed the fact that it's not important for him to be here, but it's also also important for him to be mentally ready to be here," Kitchens said last week. "I'm not giving him an out by any stretch of imagination, and nobody here knows the conversations that Odell and I have. I'm just saying it is better for him to be here when he can present his best self -- emotionally, physically, everything.''
All that said, it is understandable why Kitchens could be irked. All coaches want their players to practice, especially the newcomers. Given the player that's missing is Beckham, who the Giants considered to be enough of a distraction to less than a year after , it's going to draw headlines. But that doesn't mean it's going to have a significant impact during the season.
As second-year quarterback Baker Mayfield said during the first week of OTAs, Beckham's been in the league a long time. By now, he's developed a routine that works, evidenced by a resume that includes 5,476 yards and 44 touchdowns in five seasons.
"You let a guy like that be him," Mayfield said. "Everybody has their routine. Stick to what is working, and for him, obviously, it's been working for a while. He's going to do what he's going to do. You have to trust that he is going to be there when it matters, and we know who he is."
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