here will be no shortage of star-studded talent at Arrowhead Stadium this upcoming Sunday, September 12, when the Kansas City Chiefs open their regular season against the Cleveland Browns. However, there is one talented playmaker on the offensive side of the football for Cleveland that is trending towards not playing, which is good news for the Chiefs.
Landry: ‘We’ll See’
Listed as a limited participant during Wednesday’s practice, Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who is 10 months removed from ACL surgery, seemed like he was trending towards playing in the regular-season opener, based on a recent report by Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. However, Beckham’s fellow teammate and receiver Jarvis Landry gave a rather pessimistic update on where Beckham stands when it comes to his availability for Sunday’s game.
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“Listen, he’s going at his pace. We all here support him. We all here can’t wait to see the things he’s been working on,” Landry said Thursday, via Heavy on Browns’ J.R. De Groote. “He’s been a guy that has been struck with a lot of hardships from the injury perspective.”
When asked about whether Landry believed Beckham would play in the regular-season opener, the veteran was short and sweet with his answer.
“We’ll see,” Landry told reporters, via Tom Withers of the Associated Press.
While Landry’s comments don’t definitively put Beckham on the sideline for Sunday’s opener, the eighth-year wideout certainly didn’t sound like he expected his teammate to take the field against Kansas City.
Beckham is ‘Game Wrecker’
It’s been several years since Beckham Jr. was statistically one of the most dominant receivers in the NFL, with the last elite season-long performance by him coming in 2016 with the New York Giants, in which he recorded 96 receptions for 1,367 yards and 10 touchdowns, per Pro Football Reference. However, that doesn’t mean the coaching staff of the Chiefs views him as anything less than his elite self at 28 years old and coming off a significant knee injury.
“Number 13 changes a lot of things,” Kansas City defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said of Beckham during his press conference on Thursday. “I know that firsthand going against him every day in practice. Along with the tight ends, Landry, and those two running backs — you’re looking at an offense right out of the gate that’s going to be a huge challenge for our guys.”
Spagnuolo, who was the Giants’ defensive coordinator in 2017, one of the years Beckham was in New York, honed in on Beckham and his skill set.
“He’s the ultimate game wrecker, in my opinion,” Spagnuolo explained. “He can wreck a game from an offensive standpoint. He can catch the ball for a five-yard slant, and it could go 60 [yards]. He could catch a hook, make a guy miss, then go 80 [yards]. That’s the concern. We’ll have our eyeballs on it. Corners, safeties, everybody is talking about it.”
If Beckham is available for Cleveland in Week 1, then it’s one more significant problem the Chiefs will have to account for on defense. But if Beckham is sidelined, then Kansas City may have a better chance of limiting Cleveland’s passing attack.