Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry had a solid season in 2019, leading the team in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.
Along the way, Landry picked up his fifth consecutive Pro Bowl nod, despite the Browns finishing a disappointing season at 6-10.
That record was built in large part by an offense that could never find its rhythm under first-year head coach Freddie Kitchens and second-year quarterback Baker Mayfield, who could not match the success of his rookie season when he set a league record for touchdown passes by a first-year quarterback.
Landry is in Miami this week making the rounds among the media in town for Sunday’s Super Bowl. On Thursday, he met with the CBS Sports HQ show and shared that he still believes in his quarterback, according to Tyler Sullivan at CBS Sports:
“I mean, it’s really only been two years. (Baker is) still young and fresh in his career. My honest thing to him has always been the same — it starts with you. He knows that. He understands that. He’s a guy that I know comes in to work each and every week, each and every day with one goal in mind and that’s to win.”
The Browns entered the season as one of the league’s most-hyped teams, but the offense struggled throughout the season, finishing the year at No. 22 in both total offense and scoring. That was even with Landry and fellow wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. each surpassing 1,000 receiving yards and running back Nick Chubb rushing for 1,494 yards, the best mark in franchise history for any running back not named Jim Brown.
On Wednesday, Landry visited the set of Fox Sports 1’s UNDISPUTED and said that the offense’s season-long issues were the result of a lack of communication (quotes via wkyc.com):
“Communication. It’s the biggest thing. When you don’t have everybody on the same page at all times, it can definitely screw a lot of things up. I was a part of it and you guys saw.
“I think it was the right thing to [hire Freddie Kitchens], [with the relationship he had formed with Baker [Mayfield]. But running a team is a lot more than being personable with one guy and coaching one guy. Not that he was in over his head or anything like that, but we just couldn’t find a way to get on the same page and figure out what our identity was.
“We didn’t really know what our true identity was. We would go into games, ‘this game we want to run the ball 50 times’ or ‘this game we want to throw the ball 50 times’ instead of just doing whatever it took to win and making in-game adjustments.”
Sunday’s Super Bowl will close the books on the 2019 NFL season, which means that the Browns can start looking forward to a new beginning under new head coach Kevin Stefanski.
Even though they haven’t taken the field together yet, Landry likes what he has heard from Stefanski so far (quote via clevelandbrowns.com):
“The best thing about him, the only message he’s really brought to me is let’s get ready to work. That’s one thing I admire about him and his approach. I’ve watched a couple of his press conferences and listening to how he talks about if he’s going to call plays or not. He just says, ‘I just want to do what’s best for the team, for the guys. Whatever helps the guys.’ That’s really important for me to have a guy who’s selfless like that and humble given his history.”
The 2019 season may not have gone the way that many thought it would for the Browns, but that is in the past now.
And if the team can fix its communication issues under a coaching staff, it may be the last disappointing season for some time.