New York Giants offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan is unhappy with defensive backs playing physical to get into the head of Odell Beckham Jr.
Mike Garofolo of the NFL Network quoted the offensive coordinator, who slammed the courage of those opposing defensive backs.
Giants OC Mike Sullivan going off on DBs playing mind games with Beckham. "They're not confident enough in their abilities, not courageous."
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) October 6, 2016
So, where does this mindset stop?
If a stud defensive lineman is double teamed, is the offensive line not being courageous? After all, if the individual linemen were confident in his abilities, the defender would just face one-on-one coverage.
Does a play-action pass or reverse run signal a team not confident in its abilities? If you’re being truly courageous, you wouldn’t even think about all of that trickeration.
Heck, true confidence in your ability as an offense would come from lining up, telling the defense what’s coming, and doing exactly that. If an offense is courageous enough and has the right skills, that wouldn’t matter.
We have to hope that this is just Sullivan’s way of trying to get into the heads of the referees. If it’s anything but that, this quote is quite foolish.
Every coach in the NFL spends the week trying to figure out how to win the upcoming game. Ultimately, that is the objective and standard that everyone is measured by. When facing the Giants, finding a way to contain Beckham is important.
Beckham is not only New York’s best player, but is a transcendent talent. Unfortunately for Big Blue and its fans, he’s also shown himself to get easily rattled. If defensive backs play him physically on the line, Beckham’s attention seems to shift. He’s no longer primarily concerned about making the big play. Once he takes a few hits, his focus becomes revenge.
This has come up in three very notable instances.
- Week 15 of the 2015 season. While still with the Carolina Panthers, Josh Norman played Beckham physical. Beckham responded with enough cheap shots to get himself suspended for the next week.
- Week 3 of the 2016 season. Now with the Washington Redskins, Norman played very much the same way. The highlight of this one was Beckham picking a fight with the kicking net, who ended up giving Beckham more of a fight than he bargained for.
- Week 4 of the 2016 season. Minnesota Vikings defenders played Beckham physically. He responded by committing a taunting penalty and frankly, got away with at least one other similar penalty that should have resulted in an ejection.
The Giants lost all three games.
Maybe Sullivan and the New York coaches need to find a way to get Beckham to refocus his energy and being less predictable. If Beckham ever does that, defenders may stop playing this way, really turning this into a game of abilities. When that happens, Beckham will win far more than he’ll lose.
Until that happens, scolding opponents for taking advantage of something so obvious is just foolish.