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Giants OC: DBs 'not confident enough' to cover Odell

To nobody's surprise, Odell Beckham has served as a lightning rod for criticism this season.

While some of it feels on-point considering the wideout's recent rash of sideline outbursts, New York Giants offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan sees it differently.

The coach came to his pass-catcher's defense on Thursday, ripping into opposing defensive backs who have tried to play mind games with Beckham over the first four weeks of the season.

"I think what it boils down to in terms of defenders, you really have to ask yourself: Why are they trying to get in his head? Why are they trying to rattle him?" Sullivan asked reporters, per Newsday. "If a guy, a defender, is confident, if he has complete belief in his own abilities and he's a true competitor, why does he want to try to tip the scales and not want Odell to be at his best?

"It's about the motivation. 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-y-mano if you will. If that's going to be the approach, you can put that in the bank and say obviously the guy is not courageous enough or man enough or brave enough, whatever you want to say, to go ahead and play it straight up. If they need those types of tricks, OK, then so be it. We're going to rise above it."

NFL Network's Mike Garafolo noted that Sullivan was "hot on this topic" and "clearly irked by the extra curriculars" and trash talk aimed at the Giants superstar. It's also an effective way for Sullivan to get into the ear of game official's long before Sunday night's tilt against the Packers.

Beckham threw a tantrum on the sideline in Week 3 -- trying (and failing) to destroy a kicking net in the process -- before netting an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in Monday night's 24-10 loss to the Vikings.

"He's got to be aware," Giants quarterback Eli Manning said after the game. "People are looking for him, and he's got to play smart. You can't afford to do anything or it's going to be called. He's kind of brought that himself, so he's got to realize that. We can't afford penalties that hurt the team."

Beckham acknowledged Thursday that he needs to keep a lid on his emotions, saying: "What I'm doing is not what I'd want a 6-year-old boy doing."

He still has the overt support of Sullivan, though, along with Giants co-owner John Mara, who came out of the woodwork to encourage Beckham from halfway across the world at a conference in Vatican City.

"He's a young man who is very emotional but he's basically a very good young man who does a lot of good things off the field. But he plays the game with a lot of passion and sometimes he goes a little too far," Mara told The Associated Press.

"But that's true with a lot of players," Mara said. "Unfortunately for him it seems like everybody's focused on him right now."

Mara's right: Plenty of NFL players lose their cool each week, but Beckham has been under the microscope ever since making that eye-popping, athletically magical, one-handed touchdown grab against the Cowboys on Sunday Night Football two autumns ago.

Like it or not, that isn't about to change.

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