Packers focus on what Giants' Beckham does on field, not off
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) In studying Odell Beckham Jr., Green Bay Packers cornerback Damarious Randall focuses only on what the New York Giants' receiver is doing on the field.
It's everything else that Beckham is doing or saying after the whistle and off the field that keeps drawing headlines.
The spotlight is only going to get brighter on Sunday night when the Giants face the Packers in a nationally televised game.
Randall figures to get the assignment of defending Beckham, a matchup that might draw extra notice from the officials.
''I don't pay attention to all the off-the-field issues that's going on with him, that (doesn't have anything) to do with me,'' Randall said Wednesday. ''I'm just watching his film, and Beckham is a great, great receiver.''
And a frustrated one , too.
Beckham drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in a 24-10 loss to Minnesota on Monday night, when he caught three passes for a career-low 23 yards. Two weeks ago against Washington, Beckham had a couple of meltdowns on the sideline during the game.
Giants coach Ben McAdoo has said he was not aware about Beckham's allegations that he was being targeted by the officials.
As the focal point of New York's offense, Beckham might be watched more closely by officials because of his reputation for emotional outbursts.
''Nah, I just mean, just like I said, he's a great, great receiver,'' Randall told reporters when asked if Beckham was a player whom defensive players can try to get riled. ''I mean, I don't know about all that off the field, all the emotional things that (you all) are talking about.''
Giants quarterback Eli Manning attributed Beckham's frustrations to someone who wants the hard work in practice to pay off on game day.
''And hey, I'm with him. I work extremely hard and I want to go out there and play well and move the ball and score touchdowns,'' Manning said on a conference call.
''It's frustrating when it doesn't go as smoothly. We've just got to, we've got to put it all together, and play to the level we've prepared and to our potential.''
The Packers have had their own problems of late in pass coverage.
In Week 2, Minnesota's Stefon Diggs hurt the Packers secondary for 182 yards receiving and a touchdown on nine catches. A week later , Detroit's Marvin Jones had 205 yards and two scores on six catches.
With top cornerback Sam Shields out with a concussion, Randall has typically drawn the assignment of covering the opponent's top receiver. The Packers' first-round draft pick in 2015 studied film of his own play during the team's bye last week.
''I see a guy that was a little bit off his technique, a guy that was a little banged up,'' Randall said. He was listed on the injury report on Wednesday with a groin injury that limited him in practice.
''Everything that's in the past is in the past. Each and every week, I'm going to put each week behind me and keep on focusing on how I can get better,'' he added.
Getting safety Morgan Burnett back should help the secondary after the veteran missed the win over the Lions with a groin injury. Burnett was a full participant in practice on Wednesday.
With Shields likely out for at least another week, the Packers defensive backfield will be tested again by the Giants, who are fourth in the league in passing offense (288.5 yards per game).
Rookie Sterling Shepard and veteran Victor Cruz join Beckham to give quarterback Eli Manning a dangerous receiving group.
For Packers coach Mike McCarthy, the upside with having to replace the injured Shields and Burnett was the experience that younger players such as cornerback LaDarius Gunter and safety Kentrell Brice received in expanded roles.
McCarthy is focused on developing that depth and flexibility. When it comes to Beckham, McCarthy said he is just focused on the film, and not how Beckham's behavior might impact how the Packers play defense.
''It's obviously an excellent receiving group, there's no doubt about it, they're explosive,'' McCarthy said. ''That's what we're focused on.''
NOTES: TE Jared Cook (right ankle) and Shields did not practice. ... LB Clay Matthews (ankle/hamstring) returned to practice on a limited basis after missing the Week 3 win over Detroit, as did DT Letroy Guion (knee). DE/LB Datone Jones (knee) was a full participant in practice.
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