It was a tough week for Odell Beckham Jr. Things got off to a good start — the Giants beat the Redskins in the regular-season finale, and hours later, Beckham, Victor Cruz, Sterling Shepard and Roger Lewis were in Miami partying with Justin Bieber.
Seven days later, Beckham and his teammates were in Lambeau Field to face the Packers in a wild-card game. Some three hours after kickoff, the Packers had taken it to the Giants, 38-13, and Beckham had one of his worst games as a professional. He finished with four catches for 28 yards and two inexplicable drops.
Inevitably, the media tried to make a connection between Beckham’s poor play and his decision to party the week before. There is no connection, of course, but there’s something to the idea that Beckham needs to grow up. He reportedly went off on a Lambeau Field groundskeeper after he reportedly punched a hole in a wall.
It was all enough for teammate Victor Cruz to suggest that Beckham, one of the league’s best young players, needs to do a better job keeping his emotions in check.
“I think he is very, very hard on himself, almost to a fault,” Cruz said during an appearance on WFAN. “I think he’s on track to reach his full potential, but I think having those outbursts are going to hinder him in some regard, whether it’s continued negative press or whatever the case may be. He has to find a way to just control himself and not do those things in such an angry regard after games like that.”
Cruz’s comments come days after Giants general manager Jerry Reese said Beckham needed to mature.
“We all have had to grow up in different times in our lives,” Reese said. “I think it’s time for him to do that. He’s been here for three years now. He’s a little bit of a lightning rod because of what he does on the football field, but the things he does off the football field, he has to be responsible for those things. We’ll talk through it and I believe — I know — he’s a smart guy. I believe he understands he has a responsibility being one of the faces of this franchise. I think he’ll accept that responsibility.”
“I see a guy who needs to think about some of the things that he does,” Reese continued. “Everybody knows that he’s a gifted player, but there have been some things that he’s done that he needs to look himself in the mirror and be honest with himself about some of the things that he’s done. I think he’ll do that. We’ll help him with that, but he has to help himself, and we believe he’ll do that. He’s a smart guy but sometimes he doesn’t do smart things.”
Reese isn’t wrong. Of course, Beckham hasn’t been this team’s biggest distraction this season; the Giants were fined last month for illegally using a walkie talkie on the sidelines. And before that, they were on the wrong side of the “Josh Brown deserves to be a member of this team” argument … before they released him.