New York Giants’ offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan is a pleasant, soft-spoken guy. On Thursday, though, Sullivan got fired up in discussing why teams have been trying to bait wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. into emotional outbursts.
“I think what it boils down to in terms of defenders, you have to ask yourself, ‘Well why are they trying to rattle him?’ ” Sullivan said Thursday. “If a defender is a very confident, is he has complete belief in his own abilities and he’s a true competitor, then why does he want to tip the scale and not have OBJ at his best?”
Sullivan was just warming to the task.
“The only reason a guy tries to get him off his game is because they're not confident enough in their abilities. They're afraid to match-up against him one-on-one, mano a mano if you will.” he said.
“It just comes down to the competitive spirit. Let's talk about the whole macho thing, what macho means, 'I'm a tough guy.' If I know the source of your motivation is because you're afraid of me. Because you don't want to match up against me. So what?”
Like it or not, the approach has had an impact on Beckham the past couple of weeks. He grew frustrated and had a sideline meltdown Week 3 vs. the Washington Redskins. On Monday, when he posted a career-worst 23 receiving yards, Beckham drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after what he felt was a hit out of bounds from Xavier Rhodes of the Minnesota Vikings.
“If that's going to be the approach, hey, you can put that in the way you rank and say, ‘Obviously, the guy’s not courageous enough, brave enough, or man enough, whatever you want to say to go ahead and play straight up.’ If they need those types of tricks, okay, then so be it. We're going to rise above it,” Sullivan said.
“I think what makes him a great player is the fire, is the energy, is the passion. The level of work the young man puts in is tremendous. He is an outstanding football player. I just think that, as we move forward, obviously there's been a lot that's been written and said about the whole situation and what's gone on, and obviously nobody is thrilled with the fact that we're 2-2, nobody likes the fact we went down on Monday night and lost a difficult game and that creates frustration. It's ultimately, what's causing it, how we do solve it, and how do we get ourselves in a position where we can be happy and have happy plane rides, or happy drives out of this parking lot and win. That's really what it boils down to. “