BEREA — The numbers aren’t pretty.
So receiver Jarvis Landry isn’t looking at them.
In rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield’s three starts, Landry has caught 11 passes in 29 targets for 114 yards and a touchdown. The 38 percent conversion rate is well below-average, especially for a No. 1 wideout.
“I’ve got to stay out of the numbers,” Landry said Thursday. “I’ve got to stay out of the talk of 11 targets, two catches and all of that. If you don’t watch the game, you don’t understand that some of the targets aren’t catchable, are throwaways.
“I’ve just got to stay out of the numbers and keep my head focused on the task at hand and make the plays when they come. That’s the biggest thing.”
The criticism and frustration have climbed following the 38-14 home loss to the Chargers on Sunday. He caught two passes in nine targets for 11 yards.
“Honestly, I never really paid attention to the numbers, but these days I can’t even go on my social media without somebody heckling me about it,” said Landry, who led the league with 112 catches last year with the Dolphins. “So honestly I’ve just kind of turned it off. I know that’s what I have to do and stay focused and understand there’s a bigger picture. What we’re trying to accomplish, that stuff doesn’t matter.”
Landry got off to a strong start in his first season in Cleveland, with 20 catches for 278 yards in the first three games, including seven for 92 after Mayfield came off the bench to beat the Jets. For the year, he has 31 catches in 66 targets for 392 yards, a 12.6 average and a touchdown.
His production has dipped as the receiver injuries have piled up and the double coverage has increased. The extra attention comes mostly on third down and in the red zone.
“If you’re a defensive coordinator and if there’s one guy to stop and you just stop that one guy, your chances go up of winning the game, so why not try to stop that one guy and just see who else can beat you,” Landry said. “Everybody’s going to have to make plays, the running game’s going to have to get going, and we’re going to have to be creative as an offense to find ways to give me one-on-one matchups and I’ve got to win those.”
Coordinator Todd Haley said he’s talked with Landry often about his frustration.
“It is very hard for a guy that is the guy, so to speak, and gets a lot of opportunities,” Haley said. “The most important thing with Jarvis is that he is one of the leaders of our team, and as frustrating as some things may be, there are things that he cannot control and he has to continue to be a leader for us and go out and take every snap as if it is the most important play of the game because it could be and be ready for his opportunities and maximize those opportunities. He did not do it (against the Chargers), but nobody else did it, either, including us as coaches.”
JUST HANG ON
Mayfield took the blame for the missed connections, but Landry wanted his share of the responsibility.
“I have to do a better job of catching them more and making the plays for him,” Landry said. “I am working really hard at that, trying to do that and trying to earn more and more of his trust every day in practice.”
Landry has a great set of hands but has had a few drops, including at least one against the Chargers.
“Just gotta find a way to make plays, make catches. It’s that simple,” he said.
LET IT RIP
Mayfield was sacked five times against the Chargers, bringing the total to 13 in 3½ games. Coach Hue Jackson has made it a priority to keep him from getting hit as much, and Haley said Mayfield can help.
“You can save a lot of pain and suffering with that ball coming out quick to your first read,” Haley said.
Mayfield played his worst game against Los Angeles, going 22-for-46 for 238 yards with a touchdown, two interceptions and a 52.6 rating. He was hesitant in the pocket and slow to make decisions, which left him susceptible to the pass rush.
“He is in the process of learning that No. 1 at this level, guys are not going to be wide open ever,” Haley said. “It is going to be the process of putting the ball into tight places and knowing when it is too tight.
“There were just plenty of opportunities where the ball could have come out quick. There were plenty of opportunities where a safer decision could have been made. I think the biggest learning that can come out of that game is that guys are not going to be as open as you want them to be.”
TOUGHING IT OUT
Yes, center JC Tretter has the dreaded high ankle sprain.
No, he doesn’t plan to miss any games.
Tretter didn’t practice Wednesday and Thursday but expected to test the left ankle Friday. Until then, it remained in a walking boot.
“We’ll tape it up and we’ll see what it feels like and we’ll make a good decision,” he said. “But I still feel confident about playing on Sunday. I mean, I played with it during the game for the rest of it, and it feels better than it did at that point. So I feel confident.”
Tretter was hurt on a successful quarterback sneak in the first quarter against the Chargers. He said a defensive tackle dived in, pinned the foot and it got twisted underneath the pile.
READY WHEN NEEDED
Rookie Austin Corbett, the No. 33 pick, would get the call if Tretter can’t play. Corbett played center on the freshman team in high school and then not again in a game until the third quarter of the Senior Bowl. He’s been practicing there with the scout team.
“It’s definitely grown a lot,” he said of his comfort level. “I had some bad snaps there early on, but really just starting to get comfortable with it and find that rhythm with it and kinda understanding the offense more and more as each day goes on.”
Jackson said Corbett’s been progressing nicely.
“He has handled it really well this week and that was good to see, but he has been coming on that way,” he said. “Every week, we have continued to push him like that. He has accepted that challenge. If he has to play, he will go out and play well.”
Christian Kirksey’s been an inside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme and an outside linebacker in a 4-3 scheme. On Sunday he’ll be the middle linebacker in the 4-3.
“I am comfortable playing both positions, inside and outside,” he said.
Kirksey will slide over from the weak side to replace Joe Schobert, who’s out with a hamstring injury suffered against the Chargers. Kirksey missed Weeks 2 and 3 with a sprained ankle and has 23 tackles and three passes defensed in four games. He got his first career interception, in Year 5, against the Chargers.
Kirksey called the defenses for part of last year, so it shouldn’t be much of an adjustment communicating the calls and getting everyone lined up properly.
“Linebacker is linebacker,” he said. “In the 4-3, you are still in the box, regardless if it is classified as an outside linebacker. It is all the same to me.”
Buccaneers Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (calf) missed a second straight practice.
** Defensive end Vinny Curry (ankle) and safety Jordan Whitehead (hamstring) also didn’t practice for the Bucs.
** Linebacker James Burgess (hamstring) was placed on injured reserve when he cleared waivers Wednesday.