- Jim Mone/AP
In Week 4 against the Minnesota Vikings, Odell Beckham Jr. went off the rails again and cost his team.
After an emotional eruption in Week 3 against the Washington Redskins, Beckham was hit with a penalty for taunting after Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes hit Beckham after he’d run out of bounds.
Afterward, Beckham got in Rhodes’ face, bumped him and the ref, and was penalized. It seemed to throw off Beckham as he had the worst game of his young career, catching three passes for just 23 yards.
It wasn’t a good look for Beckham, who Giants coach Ben McAdoo warned against becoming a “distraction” after his Week 3 blowup. Beckham had disagreed with McAdoo’s assessment, and after his Week 4 antics, seemed to dig in, saying he was being unfairly targeted by defenses and refs.
Now, Beckham really has to keep his cool. According to SB Nation’s Thomas George, two Giants coaches said Beckham may be benched, or even suspended, if he has another outburst against the Green Bay Packers. Though Giants coaches reportedly think Beckham will be fine, the mandate is there.
Of course, this comes at a tough time for Beckham. He’s not only slumping, going five games without a touchdown, dating back to his melee with Josh Norman, he is also on every defense’s radar. If teams target, bump, and bruise Beckham, they can throw him off his game.
Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman reported that this is indeed part of opposing teams’ strategy when facing Beckham.
“Coaches and players on two teams that have played the Giants in the past two seasons told me that agitating Beckham was part of the game plan going into the contest. These sources also believe other teams are starting to do this.
“Going into the game, the sources explained, players and coaches talked openly about how to hit Beckham slightly late out of bounds, or on any tackle, really, which would cause him to retaliate.”
Worse still, according to George, a Giants player said the locker room is split about 75-25 in supporting Beckham vs. being fed up with his antics. Now, in his third year, Beckham is no longer a young player being given a long leash to figure it out.
It’s a tough spot for Beckham, who this week said in an interview that he’s not having fun playing football. Nobody wants to be hit with cheap-shots, but the only way to make the situation go away is to keep a level-head.
With upcoming games against the Packers, Ravens, Rams, and Eagles, Beckham isn’t going to be facing an easy defense any time soon. The Giants badly need Beckham to be the star he is, but to get back there, he’s going to have to keep his cool.