CLEVELAND — As the milestones fall, Jarvis Landry may find it hard to comprehend being mentioned in the same breath with receivers he calls legends, men who inspired him coming up.
But the consistency Landry continues to show at age 28, coming off February hip surgery and playing with a broken rib suffered Oct. 11, isn’t told just in numbers. It’s also reflected in the effect he has on his Browns teammates.
“The catch production, you look at his career, it was always like the fastest guy to 100, 200, 300, 400, 500 catches, however many he has,” Browns left guard Joel Bitonio said Friday. “He’s done it his whole career. You don’t really know about it until he’s your teammate, ‘There’s his 400th catch’…
“He just finds a way to get the ball. He’s one of those guys that when he does well, the team kind of rallies behind it and is excited for him.”
If Landry pulls in at least five passes when the Browns (9-3) host the Baltimore Ravens (7-5) on “Monday Night Football,” it will be his 72nd career game with at least five receptions. That would tie Landry with Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison and Antonio Brown of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the second-most such games by a player in his first seven seasons in NFL history.
DeAndre Hopkins of the Arizona Cardinals leads that list with 78 games. With eight receptions for 62 yards and a touchdown in Sunday’s victory at Tennessee, Landry passed Sterling Sharpe (70).
“Legends. Those are guys I’ve watched them play the game the right way for a long time, and I aspire to have a career similar,” Landry said Friday on a Zoom call. “It’s an honor to hear that, it’s an honor to be recognized next to those guys. Those guys are a large part of my inspiration of the receiver that I am and want to become.”
Acquired in a March 2018 trade from Miami, Landry ended his season touchdown drought Nov. 29 at Jacksonville, where he totaled eight receptions for 143 yards and scored on a 5-yard pass from Baker Mayfield. His back-to-back big games prompted Bitonio to joke, “I think it was going to Florida to get some sun really woke him up.”
But Landry and the rest of the Browns receiving corps will face a tough challenge against Baltimore’s eighth-ranked defense. The Ravens lead the league with 21 forced fumbles, a league-high six by cornerback Marlon Humphrey. That’s tied for third most by a defensive back in a single season since the league started keeping the stat in 2000. Cornerback Marcus Peters has three forced fumbles and three interceptions.
“They grab a lot,” Landry said of the Ravens corners. “They’re going to play physical. They’re going to force the referees to be a part of the game.
“That’s something from a receivers’ standpoint we can’t allow. We’ve got to find a way to create space and make the tough catches and obviously make the easy ones when they’re there as well, break a couple tackles. I think that’s how our yards and our big plays will come.”
Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said he believes Landry’s recent success is due to the fact that he’s healthier now, the Nov. 8 bye helping both his hip and rib. But as Landry has posted 54 catches for 676 yards and two touchdowns this season, pushing his career totals to 618 receptions for 6,864 yards and 34 scores, the consistency he shows comes from his preparation, Stefanski said.
“It’s everything that goes on behind the scenes that allows that,” Stefanski said. “We move him around and we ask him to do a lot of things, and there are details that come with that. The way he prepares and stays on top of the game plan, I have not been around any smarter players than Jarvis.”
Offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt called Landry “a true pro” and praised the great route Landry ran on his 2-yard touchdown catch against the Titans, using his eyes to fool the trailing corner on which way he was going.
“When he gets hot, really, I feel like he can beat anybody in coverage,” Van Pelt said on Zoom. “He’s an exceptional wide receiver. I’m glad to have him. He works his butt off to do it.”