It’s nice that Mohamed Massaquoi doesn’t want to be a distraction or a stereotypical wide receiver diva.
“You want to stay within the game plan,” he told The Plain Dealer this week. “Last game we didn’t have any turnovers. We were moving the ball effectively. You don’t want to take away from the game plan, don’t want to become a distraction.”
And it’s even better that coach Eric Mangini is talking Massaquoi up, trying to keep his confidence high.
“The numbers aren’t there, but he’s made strides in a lot of areas,” Mangini said in the same article. “I don’t think it’s just purely numbers based. Would he love to have a lot more catches? Yeah. Would we like those numbers to be different? You want all your guys to have a lot of catches. It’s a function of getting the opportunity and when it comes taking advantage of it.”
And it is heartening that Massaquoi doesn’t see any reason to panic.
“It’s early. It’s very early,” Massaquoi said. “If this was week 11, 12, 13, 14, it might be a different conversation, but it’s still early. My time will come.”
The thing is, it’s not early. The Browns hit the quarter mark of the season Sunday against Cincinnati and it will be Massaquoi’s 20th game – it’s time to start catching the ball.
According to The Football Outsiders Almanac (Terry Pluto referenced them in his Sunday column), the average wide receiver catches about 57 percent of the passes thrown to him. Last season, Massaquoi was at 36 percent and, with only three catches this year after three games, the number can’t be much higher. Fellow receivers Chansi Stuckey (48 percent) and Brian Robiskie (35 percent) were just as bad.
If you look at his first 19 games, 35 percent of Massaquoi’s career catches and 39 percent of his career yards came in two games last season – the home game vs. Cincinnati and the Detroit game. For the other 17 games he’s played, he’s averaging 1.5 catches and 24 yards per game.
Some of that can be attributed to the quarterback play last year, but not all of it. It’s time for some on-field production.
Much like how the team needs a win to show real evidence of its improvement, it’s time for Massaquoi to start putting up some tangible numbers to reflect the progress that he is supposedly making. Being a good practice player is nice, but more players need to start producing on game day if the Browns are going to start winning.
In short, it’s time to start catching the ball.