One of the primary focal points for the Los Angeles Rams heading into Sunday's game against the New York Giants will be their defensive game plan for All-Pro wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr..
Through his first two seasons Beckham Jr. has become one of the game's premier wideouts that has produced at a historic pace breaking numerous Giants and NFL records along the way.
The 23-year-old has kept up that torrid pace in his third year with 35 catches for 581 yards and three touchdowns. He's also coming off a career-high 222 receiving yards on eight catches with a pair of touchdowns in last week's 27-23 win over the Baltimore Ravens. Rams head coach Jeff Fisher clearly recognizes the unique ability that Beckham Jr. possesses that he believes could one day place him among the all-time greats at his position.
“I think they did a good job up there. He’s an emotional player, that’s why he’s so talented. Every play is important to him. He blocks, he’s into the offense and everything," Fisher said. "He’s got a chance to go down as one of the all-time bests. He’s really, really special. We have respect for him but we’re going to have to cover him. We’re going to have to tackle him. That’s just what we do.”
The quality that makes the two-time Pro Bowler most dangerous in Fisher's eyes is his big-play ability that he considers being a rare attribute that separates him from nearly every other wide receiver in the league.
“If he stays healthy over the next five or seven years, he takes a slant and goes 70 yards, just like he did right at the end of the game," Fisher said. "There’s not a whole lot of guys right now playing the game, rather than (Falcons WR) Julio (Jones), and some guys that can do that. He can make all the catches and runs all the routes, and the run-after-catch stuff is pretty impressive.”
This will once again create another challenging task for the Rams' secondary with cornerback Trumaine Johnson already declared out for a second straight week due to an ankle injury that he suffered against the Arizona Cardinals. Los Angeles will have to rely upon undrafted rookie Troy Hill to take his spot in the lineup while third-year veteran E.J. Gaines will occupy the other starting job.
Keep in mind, that the last time these two teams played during the 2014 season Beckham Jr. posted one of his best performances of his rookie campaign hauling in eight catches for 146 yards and two touchdowns. That said, Fisher believes that the Rams' secondary biggest concern should be staying away from plays that would be detrimental to the team's success pointing out Beckham Jr.'s unsportsmanlike conduct penalty last week that could have easily cost the Giants their win against the Ravens.
“What you do is, and it’s a weekly discussion, is just don’t hurt our football team. Regardless of what happens out there, regardless of what is said, or regardless of the reaction out of an opponent, don’t put yourself in a position to hurt the football team," Fishers said. "I think Odell learned last week when a big touchdown play that shifts the game, and he let loose of his emotions, took his helmet off, and now they’re kicking off from the 20-yard line.
"Those things are hard. I think the whole league needs to learn from that. Give yourself a chance to win. That could’ve cost them a victory last week. So, we don’t want to put ourselves in a position to where those kinds of things happen to us.”