Antonio Callaway is poised for a breakout season with the Cleveland Browns, but nobody had to tell that to the second-year wide receiver.
He already knows.
Callaway is setting lofty goals for his sophomore season, which will be played along side the Browns’ newly-acquired star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry.
Coming off a rookie year where he had 43 catches for 586 yards and five touchdowns, the Florida product wants more.
Callaway told reporters at the Browns minicamp on Thursday he wants to net at least 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns.
“Ten. Ten or more,” Callaway said. “I need goals like that to push me,’’ he said.
Head coach Freddie Kitchens didn’t put a damper on that projection one bit. He encouraged Callaway — a fourth round pick out of Florida last season — to set his own expectations, rather than listening to the media.
“Yeah, I do. I think setting expectations high, for ourselves, not letting you guys do it, let us do it,” Kitchens said. “I think Antonio’s had a great spring. He’s been really, really good and I’m really excited about Antonio coming back. From a knowledge standpoint, from knowing what to do, when to do it, and then actually doing it, he’s done very well.”
Much of the focus on the offense has been about the acquisitions of Beckham and Kareem Hunt. But OBJ noted in his presser that he values team success over person number.
“I know some of us get stuck up in numbers,” Beckham said, “but this game is about winning. I’d much rather be in the playoffs than go for 1,200 yards and 10 touchdowns because to me, I’m supposed to do that anyway.”
That sentiment is something Callaway is sticking by as well and doesn’t mind the competition for touches.
“I love being the underdog, I’ve always been the underdog,” he said. “I like competition, so we’re going to work. I ain’t never been the type to cry over not getting the ball. I will want the ball, but … If I don’t get it, I don’t get it.”
“Baker makes the right decisions,’’ he added. “He’s the quarterback. When you’re on the field, that’s the leader right there, so whatever decision he makes we’ve got to roll with it.’’
Callaway was recently named by Bleacher Report as the Browns breakout star of OTAs because Beckham — and Landry to an extent — will demand coverage.
“The Browns added Odell Beckham Jr. to their wide receiver group this offseason. He’ll face constant double coverage, which should leave Jarvis Landry and Callaway in plenty of one-on-one situations,” Bleacher Report’s Maurice Moton wrote. “If the latter comes into the season with more reliable hands, quarterback Baker Mayfield may look his way while opponents attempt to neutralize Beckham downfield.”
The offensive is under the direction of coordinator Todd Monken, who came over from Tampa Bay in the offseason. While with the Bucs, Monken was able to build the best passing offense in the league.
His offense philosophy sounds like something that will capitalize on Callaway’s playmaking and 4.41 40-yard dash speed.
“I like having fun. I don’t know why it has to feel like such drudgery all the time,” Monken said. “Who needs more 5-yard plays? How can we be explosive? That’s what the game is about, man. People like big plays. I like big plays.”