Moss On Baker/OBJ: You Need Trust, Not Friendship

Baker Mayfield and Odell Beckham Jr. do not need to be best friends, former Pro Bowl receiver Santana Moss says, but they do need to trust each other

The DA Show
September 17, 2020 - 11:18 am

Odell Beckham Jr., as you may have heard, didn’t have a great game Sunday. In fact, it was pretty bad.

Beckham had three catches for 22 yards – on 10 targets – in Cleveland’s 38-6 loss to Baltimore on Sunday.

What should we make of his lackluster performance?

“I’ve been a No. 1 receiver for a long time throughout my 14-year career, and if I got 10 targets, trust me, I would have had a great outing,” former Pro Bowl wide receiver Santana Moss said on The DA Show. “I know what it feels like to not be in the offense when you can be so much for an offense. In this day and age, it’s a lot different. When I was playing, we ran the ball so much to where it used to be mind-blowing to me how I could only get three or four attempts a game, but I made do with what I had. I think now these guys at the wide receiver position, the way the game is set up, they need the ball, especially a guy like Odell Beckham.”

Moss, 41, played in the NFL from 2001-14. He had over 700 catches for over 10,000 yards and 66 touchdowns in his career.

“I never wanted things forced,” he said. “I want the ball to come in the flow of the game – because when things are forced, you have an outing like Odell had the other day. You have drops, you have three catches – you don’t really be a factor in the offense. . . . I do believe he needs the ball. I do believe he needs some of those big chunks here and there because he can make a difference, but don’t force it – because teams come into the game knowing that Odell is going to be a factor so they set up their defense to make sure that they prevent that. If it’s not there, go to the next guy. I think that’s the way you have to play the game.”

But what makes some quarterback-receiver combinations so potent and others so, well, not? Does the personal relationship matter? Do those duos need trust? Friendship?

“Trust, yes; friendship, no,” Moss said. “It doesn’t matter in that locker room totally if any of those guys are friends. When you’re at your job, everyone is there for one job: to make sure we can do our best to make sure that this company runs well. We do the best for our company. That’s the same in the NFL locker room. We’re all here with one common goal: to win a championship. Whether we like each other or not, as long as we go out here and do what’s assigned to us, then we should have a chance to do that.

"I played with so many quarterbacks I barely knew their girlfriend’s name or their kids’ names," Moss continued. "But they can trust and know that they had a guy in me that was going to go out there and do my job well, so therefore I trusted them to get me the ball because they know that’s the way I work, the way I come to work, and the way I handle my business. That’s all that needs to be done. That’s the only thing that I believe players need when it comes to having enough communication when it comes to friendships or not. You don’t really need friends to go out there and work efficiently together.”

Beckham, of course, is known for wearing his emotions on his sleeve. If he does not get the ball, he is not happy, which could be part of the problem.

“I believe that they’re trying to do things to make sure Odell is happy, but that’s not going to make the offense successful,” Moss said. “Odell has to be Odell – but within the flow of the game. You can’t just force it because he’s Odell Beckham. Make sure you get the matchups offensively. Have that offensive coordinator be creative enough to make sure when Odell gets that single-coverage matchup or that matchup when that defense is sleeping, give him the ball. That’s easier to be said than done, but if you want to get a guy like Odell started, you give him a couple of balls early: a screen, a slant here, a hitch here and . . . allow him to get in the flow like that. But I don’t see forcing a guy the ball and not thinking about your offense as a whole. I think you have to establish the run and the pass.”