Odell Beckham Jr. is an emotional guy. Anyone with a passing interest in the New York Giants or the NFL knows that. How he will handle those emotions Sunday against the Green Bay Packers in his first-ever NFL playoff appearance is anybody’s guess. Even he isn’t sure.
“I'm excited about the opportunity to even be able to play in the playoffs. For me, it's like ... I feel like I've talked about it for years since I've been here and it's finally here. It's not really here until Sunday, I think, or even when we take off to go to Green Bay and it all kind of will settle in,” Beckham said. “I'm just trying to hold it all together and I just don't know where I'm going to be at. I know I'm going to be very amped up and very excited.”
Beckham admitted he is already having trouble sleeping.
“I’m excited, man. I’m excited,” he said.
“It's a situation I've never been in, something I feel like I've always dreamed of. I've had to sit back and watch playoffs the past two years since I've been in the league and even before that I was watching playoffs. I'm really excited right now. I don't want to say that I don't know what to expect, I know obviously what's at hand but ... I'm just ready for it. I wish it was tomorrow, but we get some days to prepare and get ready for it.”
Beckham did not address questions about his trip to Miami, saying only that he would discuss that after the season.
Confidence level “through the roof”
Safety Landon Collins was asked about the team’s confident level heading into Sunday. He didn’t downplay it.
“I want to say through the roof. I can’t speak too much for the offensive side because I don’t know, but when I’m watching practice their catching every ball, their running full speed trying to change their routes and stuff like that,” Collins said. “Were all in and paying attention to key details.”
Victor Cruz: Giants believe in Eli
Speaking of confidence, wide receiver Victor Cruz said Wednesday that having quarterback Eli Manning is one of the reasons the Giants have that confidence.
“Having a guy like Eli is exactly what you want, and exactly what you look for in a team that wants to make a deep run,” Cruz said. “Having him at the helm, understanding what this is all about, and being in this position before can definitely give us an advantage, at least for the younger guys to look up to him and for us to have that much more confidence in our guys.”
McAdoo: No time for sentimentality
Giants coach Ben McAdoo isn’t a sentimental guy. He generally doesn’t like to take time to reflect on, or answer questions about, anything other than the task of getting ready for the next game. That was the case Wednesday when he was asked about the impact his mentor, Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy, had on his career.
“We’re excited for the opportunity,” McAdoo said. “To be able to play a 17th game in the league is not a given. We’re excited for the opportunity. We earned the opportunity, and now we have to go out there and prepare for a big ballgame. Mike has been a tremendous influence on me, but this isn’t the time or place for that.”
McCarthy did take a moment on Wednesday to express some pride in his protege.
“Well, I think it is obvious that he has done a great job,” McCarthy said on a conference call. “Your first year is — I don’t care how well you prepare or how well you think you are, there are always things that come up that there is really nothing to point to. Situations arise and it’s not like there is a handbook sitting on your desk where you just look it up in Chapter 6. So I think he has done a great job navigating the challenges of the first year as a head coach.
“Personally, yeah, I am very proud of him and what he has done. You want to see your friends be successful and so forth. But you have to realize what this is all about, it is about the Packers and the Giants in the playoffs. But yeah, I think he has done a great job, especially for it being his first year, and it is no surprise to any of us or anybody who has known Ben over the years. He has prepared himself for everything.”
I leave you with this, from one of the contributors at SB Nation’s Packers web site, Acme Packing Company. At least one APC writer is a little afraid of what might happen Sunday.
I am not above petty feelings and superstition, and losing to the Giants in a playoff game in Lambeau is one of the worst sports things I can imagine. I don’t even have any particular enmity for the Giants as an organization, it’s just that when this happens, the Giants are typically a good, not great team (check) with an excellent defense (check), and often catch the high-flying Packers in a cold weather game (possible) that favors a defense. It all ends with Eli Manning, a historically good, but never great quarterback getting far too much credit, which, given the state of the Green Bay secondary, is far too plausible.
In short, I’m scared of this game, and will probably feel bad about it until it’s over.