Monday Musings: Time for Odell Beckham to scrap the antics because he's too good
Also, Aaron Rodgers still doesn't look comfortable and why Tony Romo needs to be the starter in Big D
New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is a joy to watch. He's a fun, explosive, game-changing player who has star written all over his career.
We saw that Sunday in New York's dramatic 27-23 victory over the Baltimore Ravens, which saw Beckham score the winning points on a 66-yard touchdown pass. Beckham took a slant and ran away from the defense, capping an amazing day that saw him catch eight passes for a career-best 222 yards and two touchdowns. He did all that with a bad hip, which he injured in the first half.
That's the good you get from Beckham, which should be what people talk about. But it's the other stuff that's maddening at times, and becomes the focal point.
Just play football.
On his first touchdown, a 75-yard catch and run, he waved at safety Eric Weddle as he ran into the end zone. Why?
Then all the crap with sideline kicking net, which included him proposing to it Sunday after beating it up a few weeks ago, is tiring now too.
Just play football.
Then he could have cost his team the game. After catching the go-ahead TD with 1:24 left, he got a 15-yard unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty when he celebrated by taking off his helmet on the field. Bad move. The Ravens got a chance to drive to the Giants' 24, but Joe Flacco's final pass into the end zone fell incomplete.
But what if it didn't? What if he hit the pass and the Giants lost? That would have overshadowed an unreal performance that should be -- and is today -- the focal point of the conversation.
Beckham plays the game with emotion. I love that. I like when he dances in the end zone. I loved the triple-jump celebration after his first TD catch. But the other stuff, like fighting with defensive backs and doing dumb things like taking off his helmet on the field, impact the game. That matters.
He's too damn good a player to allow that to happen. His skill set is unreal. He should be in the conversation about the best receiver in the game, right there with Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown and Julio Jones of the Falcons. Now it's more about his antics and his on-field fights and everything else.
The game should be the talk. Not the crap.
Beckham should just play football -- and let his game do all the talking for him.
More musings from around the NFL:
Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers is not playing good football right now. There are a lot of reasons why, including offensive design and the route combinations, but he's also off his game. The Cowboys beat Rodgers and the Packers 30-16 at Lambeau Field on Sunday and Rodgers and the offense got booed.
Rodgers isn't the same guy.
He has now gone 14 consecutive games without throwing for 300 yards, finishing with 294 against Dallas. More than the stats, it's the eye test that is concerning. He just doesn't look comfortable. He sure didn't against Dallas.
Every time it appeared the Packers would get it going, they didn't. This is an offense ranked in the bottom 10 in passing. That's with Aaron Rodgers and a good offensive line. Something is wrong.
It's up to coach Mike McCarthy to get this thing straightened out. There's no reason Rodgers should be playing this way. I think he's pressing. That big season I expected to see, where I was sure he would be in the MVP conversation, is not happening.
Aaron Rodgers is ordinary right now. Who imagined we'd write that sentence six weeks into the season?
While Rodgers struggled, it's also worth noting that the Cowboys defense played well. That unit has been one of the bigger surprises in the league this season. With all the problems, including suspensions and injuries, they were expected to be a major concern. But they came into the game ranked eighth in scoring and looked every bit as good as that against Rodgers.
It is not a unit made up of stars, but coordinator Rod Marinelli is getting the most out of that defense. They've made it a lot easier on quarterback Dak Prescott so he doesn't have to press.
Speaking of Prescott, he deserves consideration to keep the job as the team's starter. But I would still go to Tony Romo when he's healthy enough to play. Prescott has managed the game very well and threw three touchdown passes Sunday, but the defense and the running game of Ezekiel Elliott have made it easier on him, and I think Romo would have won all five as well.
I can see both sides of it, but Romo is the better quarterback and don't give me that chemistry crap.
When the Browns scored with 2:10 left in the game against Tennessee to cut the lead to nine, why did coach Hue Jackson go for two? He should have kicked to make it an eight-point game, rather than going for two. When Cleveland went for two, and didn't make it, it left it a nine-point game.
That meant it was basically out of reach.
So even after the Browns got the onside kick, and went down and scored, they had no chance. These coaches need to think. Jackson is a good coach. His undermanned team fights every week, but like so many coaches he failed the situational test Sunday.
When the New Orleans Saints scored to go up seven with 6:02 left, why not go for two? That might sound strange, but hear me out. If they go for two and get it, they are up nine. That makes it a two-possession game. If they didn't get it, it's still a seven-point game and if the Panthers scored late, which they did, they would have kicked the extra point anyway to tie it.
As it turned out, they went for two points to tie it with 3:04 left and the Saints ended up winning it late. I know it sounds weird, but going for two with six minutes left to make it nine points is not a strategy many consider, but should.
Why didn't the Rams kick a field goal on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line at the end of the first half?
The score was tied and they had a chance to go into the locker room with the lead, but instead were tied at 14 when Todd Gurley was dropped for a 1-yard loss. If they kick there, they have all the momentum on the road.
In the end, Detroit won on a late field goal and the Rams left wishing they had those three points. Bad move, Jeff Fisher.
Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles has struggled this year. I think a lot of it has to do with design and philosophy. The Jaguars threw early in the game against the Bears on Sunday on first down, and Bortles drove them to what should have been a touchdown, but turned into an end zone pick when it bounced off Allen Robinson's chest. In the second and third quarters, they ran it on six of their nine first-down plays and did little on offense.
But trailing 13-0 in the fourth quarter, the team had no choice but to let Bortles go. And he responded by rallying them to a rare road victory. He did so after a bad fumble set up a field goal and gave the Bears a 16-7 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Bortles threw for 151 yards after that, including the winning touchdown pass, a 51-yarder to Arrelious Benn.
The Jaguars have to realize they aren't the Seahawks, which is where coach Gus Bradley came from to be their head coach. They have to open things up earlier in games. Bortles plays better when it's free and loose. They should play to that.
I hate the low cut blocks by offensive linemen, and the one Atlanta's Jake Matthews used on Michael Bennett was no exception. Yes, it's legal, but it should be outlawed. Why? Bennett got hurt on the play and had to leave. There was no immediate word on the injury, but it could have been really bad. I just don't like that type of block, even if it's legal. It can end a career.
In two games with Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski now has 12 catches for 271 yards and a touchdown. He had seven for a career-high 162 yards and a score against the Bengals on Sunday. Gronk is back to being Gronk.
What the hell was that, Steelers? What happened to the run defense in Miami? The Steelers saw running back Jay Ajayi rush for 204 yards and rip through them with ease in the Dolphins' victory. That's something that has to be fixed. Now that defense has to pick up the team this week with news that Ben Roethlisberger has a torn meniscus. He will miss this week's game with the Patriots, which puts Landry Jones into the lineup.
The Panthers have big problems. No, the Panthers are done. They are 1-5 and they look bad in a lot of areas, especially on defense. That's what you call a Super Bowl hangover that can't be cured.
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