ODELL BECKHAM, JR CAN BE AS STUPID AS HE IS BRILLIANT
Odell Beckham, Jr. is many things. One thing he is not, is boring.
After fighting his way back from a high ankle sprain that had kept him out of the last few weeks of training camp and the first regular season game against the Dallas Cowboys, Beckham was finally on the field in week two against Detroit.
But Beckham was limited against the Lions. It was obvious he had not started to fully trust his ankle. He caught four passes for 36 yards in the Giants 24-10 loss.
The fourth-year superstar finally broke out in the second half of Big Blue’s game against the Eagles in Philadelphia.
Beckham was nothing short of brilliant.
Beckham, facing a former LSU teammate in Jalen Mills, hauled in nine receptions for 79 yards and two touchdowns catches in the fourth quarter that helped the Giants erase a 14-0 deficit and tie the game.
Sterling Shepard’s 77-yard catch-and-run touchdown actually put Big Blue up 21-14 before the Eagles rallied to pull out a 27-24 win on a 61-yard walk-off field goal by rookie kicker Jake Elliott.
But Beckham’s play clearly showed he was back.
The two fingertip and toe touchdowns were so amazing it prompted head coach Ben McAdoo to describe them as, “Two of the finest plays you’ll ever see in pro football since I’ve been in the league. Those are getting overshadowed. It’s unfortunate.”
What the Giants coach was talking about is the post-touchdown act Beckham put on. After his first touchdown, Beckham got down on all fours and pretended to be dog, then imitated a dog taking a leak on a fire hydrant, but used the Eagles end zone as the hydrant.
That boorish stunt, which resulted in a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, prompted Giants president and chief executive officer John Mara to state Monday that he is “very unhappy with Odell’s behavior on Sunday. And we intend to deal with it internally.”
Beckham, during his weekly press conference on Wednesday, a gathering usually meant to go over the upcoming game, in this case a road trip to Tampa Bay to take on the Buccaneers, and try to earn the Giants their first win of the year, turned into a Q&A about Beckham’s meeting with Mara.
Here’s how it went:
Q: What was your reaction to Giants’ President and CEO John Mara’s comments?
Beckham: We talked.
Q: Did you apologize to Giants’ President and CEO John Mara?
A: No. I said we talked. Mr. Mara and I talked.
Q: Going forward, what does that mean to us that you and Giants’ President and CEO John Mara talked?
A: He and I talked. We had a discussion – private discussion in his office. We talked about it – him and I.
Q: Do you feel like you embarrassed the organization?
A: More myself, I guess. Only thing is just causing the penalty for the team. That’s really it. I don’t even know if they knew to call the flag or not because the look of confusion on their face was, ‘Do we throw the flag or not?’ And then, it was kind of just like, they threw the flag. So, only regret is causing us 15 yards, having to cover a long kickoff. Thankfully, we didn’t have any setback from there. Covered the kickoff well.
Q: Will you choose a different form of celebration going forward?
A: (Nods head yes).
Q: Do you think you were out of line with your celebration?
A: I don’t know. I don’t think any of us know the rules on what you can do celebrating. They put in a new celebration thing to kind of make it seem as if players can celebrate and then you celebrate and you only have 40 seconds. So, if you celebrate for 20, you have 20 seconds to run on and kick (the extra point), so I don’t really know. I don’t really know how it works, but I do know going forward I have a lot better celebration.
Q: Was the celebration improvised?
A: I’m talking about Tampa now.
Q: Was your celebration a response to President Donald Trump’s comments?
A: I was just telling him, I’m talking about Tampa.
Q: How do you balance your passion for the game with showing respect?
A: I felt pretty good all year, pretty much all offseason. Until you’re 0-2, we’re down 14-0 in the fourth quarter and it’s just, it’s time. It’s time to win games. It’s time to make plays and I just like being a spark and some energy for this team and I know that that touchdown and the one after it put us in good position. But it’s just the little thing of getting that penalty. Just can’t do it. Just doesn’t need to be done and that’s really the bottom line.
Q: What challenges do the Buccaneers defense present?
A: They have a good defense in my opinion. (Vernon) Hargreaves is a corner who I’ve been going against since college. Brent Grimes, I like. I think T.J. Ward just got over there and he’s a hell raiser in my opinion – a guy you have to watch for and, I mean, up front, I’ve been to the Pro Bowl with (Gerald) McCoy. I’ve watched him. I’ve watched his film. He’s trouble. They have some real good linebackers over there. I’m not going to give Kwon (Alexander) because I went to school with him. He’s a phenomenal player. Him, Kendell Beckwith over there. These are guys who I’ve played with and know what they’re capable of. They have a very talented group. It’s just time for us to get a win and really the biggest focus is on ourselves right now.
Q: How do you get points on the board earlier?
A: We were in the red zone five times, I think, and came away with two touchdowns and it was in the end. It’s just about scoring touchdowns. That’s the bottom line. The game comes down to scoring touchdowns. Field goals aren’t going to get it done. You can get down there five times, kick five field goals. That’s 15 points. They score twice, they’re down by one. It’s about touchdowns and that’s what we have to do.
Q: Does scoring a lot of points in the fourth quarter give you confidence going forward?
A: I don’t know if it was the fourth quarter. I feel like we moved the ball all game up and down the field, just couldn’t put it in the end zone. Like I said, it’s just the bottom line is getting touchdowns.
Q: Are you a desperate football team?
A: I don’t know what desperate means. I’ve never been desperate in my life. And I know that we’re not desperate, but we do need a win. Period. Now. And that’s the plan.
Q: Do you still believe in this club?
A: I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t believe in us. It’s just a matter of putting everything together, finishing drives. All the little things. Details, details, details, winning.
Q: Is receiving yards an area you feel that you can capitalize on against the Buccaneers?
A: I mean, our defense gave up a lot of running yards and it usually doesn’t happen. So, I don’t know if it’s a one-time thing, if they’re susceptible to giving up passing yards or what, but I know they’re a good defense and I know that they just lost last week. Correct. So, they’re going to come out with some intensity, fired up. They’re at home. They’re going to come out to get a win. So, we just have to play our best football.
Q: What did you intend with the celebration?
A: I’m really focused on Tampa.
Q: Do you want to clarify your celebration any more?
A: No. We can just move to Tampa because that’s the only thing that’s important right now.
Q: You’re not on the injury report this week. Does that mean you’re fine?
A: I’ve been playing the past two weeks, so I’m alright.
Q: Did you feel your performance last week is an indication that you’re fine?
A: Just getting better. Have rehab today. Doctor comes in tomorrow, Friday. It’s just the same thing over and over again. So, until that tape comes off my ankle, it’s the only way I’ll be able to tell you I’m fine, I’m 100%.
Q: Did you talk about your contract with Giants’ President and CEO John Mara during your meeting?
A: I don’t know if that has to do with Tampa, really.
Asked about Mara’s comments, McAdoo said, “We’ve had conversations on it.”
The coach said he was focused on reducing the penalties that keep setting the team back.
“I’ll start with this – we had 10 penalties in the (Philadelphia) game,” McAdoo said. “Penalties snap to whistle are penalties that happen, combative penalties in the game. You can clean those up with fundamentals. Pre-snap and post-snap penalties, we have to clean up, and that’s a part of it. Celebration penalties are things you can’t have. It’s a poor reflection on me, on the program and on the organization. We have a plan for it. We’re going to handle it internally, and we have a plan for it moving forward.” *
Follow Al Thompson on Twitter @thompsoniii