EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –** Tom Coughlin wants Odell Beckham Jr. to continue to play with the exuberance that has been such a big part of his splendid rookie season. He just prefers the rookie receiver not get penalized for it.
Beckham both received and inspired infractions in the Giants' 37-27 victory yesterday over the St. Louis Rams.
He was hit with a taunting penalty in the first quarter when he spun the football after catching a nine-yard pass from Eli Manning for the game's first touchdown. That forced the Giants to kick off from the 20-yard line and help set up Greg Zuerlein's 51-yard field goal.
The Rams were intent on badgering Beckham, who has emerged as the Giants' most productive offensive weapon. After he caught a five-yard pass in the second quarter, safety T.J. McDonald picked up his own taunting penalty for getting in Beckham's face. Less than three minutes later, linebacker Alec Ogletree drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for his (mis)treatment of Beckham out of bounds following a six-yard reception. That set off a melee that resulted in three players being ejected, including two Giants.
"Absolutely, there is no way you want to take anything away from the guy on the field, except for some of the (extracurricular) things you see," Coughlin said today. "I am not trying to tell you that everything he does is intentionally directed at the opponent. It is not. But if it is being interpreted by the officials as it is, then we have to do something about it."
Coughlin is not a fan of individual expressions that go above the norm, particularly those that show up opposing players or teams. But Beckham is a unique talent he believes is not acting maliciously or carelessly.
"I think the one thing is that every time Odell plays, he learns more about the National Football League and he learns about the way in which he is being interpreted, some good, some bad," Coughlin said. "He continues to try and want to do things the right way. We will continue to try to teach him, without taking away from his ability and his excitement and the obvious lift that he brings. Here is a kid that runs the entire length of the field with every ball in practice. It is one thing to see someone do that, and then it is such an outstanding example for everyone else, but that is the kind of energy and excitement that he brings to the enjoyment of playing. That is there and it is there full-time. You want that.
"Now the exuberance, if it goes too far, obviously, it is not a good thing, so we will continue to work with him. I spoke to him on the way out on the plane (to St. Louis) about a couple of things I was interested in continuing to talk to him about and why I wanted him to learn as much as he possibly could, and for me to help him going forward. Because I want everyone to realize the quality of the young man, and not be offset by some of things that he has done. He looked at me and said, 'Coach, stay after me.' He wants to learn and he wants to continue to improve and be better. I think he will and I think going forward, as he understands the professional game, that he will understand that some of the things that take place give the wrong message or send the wrong message."
- Beckham (eight catches for 148 yards and two touchdowns) wasn't the only Giants receiver from LSU to enjoy a big game in the Edwards Jones Dome. His close friend and former college teammate Rueben Randle contributed six receptions for a career-high 132 yards and his first touchdown since Oct. 5.
"I think Rueben went into this game with the idea and the knowledge that we needed strong contributions from everyone," Coughlin said. "We needed to understand what may likely happen from a defensive standpoint against us and that all people would have to make contributions, and he certainly did. The play he made in the middle of the field where he went up as high as he did and brought down the post ball (for a 49-yard gain), that was an outstanding start to his game. He had many plays, he had the play at the end of the game where he went a long way with the slant route and, in truth, I would've liked him to stay in the middle of the field and see if he could've scored with that. He played very well and he had the six receptions for 132 for a 22-yard average. He also blocked and that is a good sign.
"As I have said all along, Rueben Randle is very talented. The way in which he approached this game, I would hope he would stamp on the back of his hand to remind him of how he prepared for this one and how well he played. We need him to play like that; we need him to play at that capacity."
No one was happier for Randle than Beckham, particularly that he caught the long pass on the Giants' first possession.
"I didn't know exactly who he (Eli Manning) was throwing it to," Beckham said. "I saw Rueben running to go get it and I just knew that he was going to catch it. He's a lot bigger than the other guy, and I was just happy to see him get back in the end zone."
- Coughlin reported no injuries from the game.