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Odell Beckham Jr, where do we start?
OBJ blew up during his rookie season. After missing a few games to start the season he went on to dominate NFL secondary’s. 1,300+ yards and 12 touchdowns in just 12 games doesn’t happen in the NFL, not any more at least. Those are season totals; 16 games, not 12. Defensive backs are supposed to be better than that. Turns out, a lot of the things that OBJ does just shouldn’t happen. Take a look at this ridiculous catch:
This is the moment that most of the sports world found out who this kid was. Not only does he display insane athleticism, body control and focus, Odell was HELD on this play. Simply put, the defender committed an illegal act in order to prevent OBJ from catching this ball, and on just about every receiver in the league this would have worked. What’s clear though, is that OBJ is not every receiver in the league.
His career, thus far, has been full of some spectacular feats of athletic ability. He makes catches that most players couldn’t make look routine. He displays body control that his peers wish they could have. He contests 50-50 balls like the biggest receivers in the league, and at the same time runs slant and comeback routes like slot receivers. His warm up includes catches that would make any highlight reel if it had happened in a game:
As with most things, all is not what it seems with Odell. His career has been explosive, but not necessarily in the best way. He’s developed a bit of a reputation; lightly put, he’s a hot head. If things don’t go his way he acts out. It becomes a distraction, and I personally believe the Giants have paid the price for this.
By now, most casual NFL fans have heard about his blood feud with Josh Norman. This has gotten really ugly recently, with both players taking some dirty shots at each other beyond the whistle. To his credit, Norman has got OBJ figured out. He always gets under his skin and other teams are starting to catch on. It’s all too easy to get Odell fired up and off his game.
Another issue with Beckham is his ability to show up in big games. While I don’t believe the narrative that his antics prior to his playoff game this year (boat trip in Miami) affected his play, one thing remains undeniable. Odell did not show up. The problem here is two-fold. First, OBJ is the Giants’ best player. He NEEDS to show up when the spotlight shines the brightest. On the other hand, if his game is off he needs to control his emotion. He should be a leader on this team, not someone who takes out his frustrations on a kicking net.
The question then becomes: “Can Odell Beckham handle the spotlight?”. I believe that he can, to some extent. I think a market as big as New York is bad for him. Everything he does is under the microscope. He gets a lot of unwanted attention and I think it cripples him. He lashes out at the media, and acts out on the field. The addition of Brandon Marshall, while on paper, exciting, should be a real concern for Giants fans.
Marshall is charismatic, he’s energetic and he’s fun to watch. He and OBJ are very similar in that regard and I guess that’s a positive. The negative however, is that he is also a big personality who has the potential to lash out. He’s got a tendency to call out teammates that are under-performing (at least in his eyes), and I’m not sure that Odell can handle that added pressure. He already feels as though the refs and media are out to get him, the last thing a player like Odell needs is to feel like his locker room is against him as well.
The season ahead is sure to be full of surprises, but one thing will hold true. Odell is a phenom. He’s a once in a lifetime talent and I believe he has the abilities to completely outshine the rest of the league (Julio Jones and Antonio Brown included). He’s got a temper though, and unless he can control that we’ll never get to see his true potential. In my opinion, New York is too much for him. The spotlight is too bright, and he can’t handle having everything he does being judged.
The best thing for him would be a small market team, where he can figure himself out without being over analyzed. Then again, perhaps he’s already past that possibility. Only time will tell whether or not OBJ can get his emotions under control. I for one, hopes that he does. What are your thoughts?