Scout's Notebook: Is Odell Beckham Jr. a legit distraction?


Former NFL player and scout Bucky Brooks knows the ins and outs of this league, providing keen insight in his weekly notebook. The topics of this edition include:

» Odell Beckham Jr.'s emotions: Distraction for the Giants or overblown storyline?

» Why Carson Palmer isn't the real problem with the Cardinals' offense.

» Don't sleep on the Falcons and their sizzling offense.

But first, a look at one of the most enticing storylines of the young season ...

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ASK THE LEAGUE: Is Odell Beckham Jr.'s emotional style a legit problem?

Odell Beckham Jr. has dominated the NFL like no young receiver since Randy Moss. He's set a number of records in his first 30 pro games while showcasing a flair for the dramatic as a playmaker on the perimeter. Although his spectacular catches and exuberance have made him a cult hero among young fans, Beckham's unbridled emotions have made him a bit of a powder keg on the sidelines when things aren't going his way. Last week, we witnessed one of his outbursts when he lost a fight with a kicking net. After hearing Ben McAdoo say this week that Beckham "needs to control his emotions better and be less of a distraction to himself and his teammates," I couldn't help but wonder if his behavior really does affect Big Blue's performance on game day. To get some perspective, I reached out to some folks around the league and asked them the following question:

Do you think OBJ's flamboyance and sideline antics are a distraction to his team?

NFC scout: "It has to wear on guys after a while. It doesn't matter how good the player is -- it eventually rubs some guys the wrong way."

AFC defensive assistant coach: "You just ignore him. He is, who he is ... As long as he is making plays, it doesn't matter to me what he is doing on the sideline."

NFC pro personnel director: "He definitely needs to keep his emotions in check, but it's a part of who he is and it's his competitive nature."

AFC senior personnel executive: "OBJ's flamboyance only becomes an issue when his numbers decline. If he stops making plays, then you begin to worry about the impact that it could have on the team. But criticism is a little overblown at this point."


I don't really understand why Beckham's sideline demeanor has generated so much attention. Part of our love and adoration for him stems from the swagger, energy and enthusiasm that he displays on the field. Whether it's his celebratory dances after touchdowns or the way he energizes the crowd on the sideline after big plays, OBJ's flamboyance adds some sizzle to the Giants, and I believe his teammates feed off his energy. While he certainly needs to control his emotions in order to consistently perform at the highest level, it is important for the team to allow him to express himself, thus enabling him to reach his comfort zone. This might require dealing with some of the outbursts that we witnessed last weekend, but at the same time, he posted another 100-yard game and dominated his matchup with nemesis Josh Norman.

In the end, Beckham's performance and production will outweigh any of his antics. He is unquestionably one of the best players in the NFL and teams tolerate more from their elite talents. Considering how his spectacular play has benefitted everyone in the organization, including McAdoo and Eli Manning, I think the Giants would be wise to pause before making their star player the scapegoat in press conferences.

Follow Bucky Brooks on Twitter @BuckyBrooks.



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