<
>

NFC East Q&A: How will teams handle Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr.?

Today’s question: What adjustments can/will teams make to handle Odell Beckham Jr. after having seen him for a year?

Todd Archer, Dallas Cowboys: Do you mean if they'll still put Brandon Carr on him, like last year at MetLife Stadium? I think Carr has become the NFL’s version of Craig Ehlo, given how many times Beckham’s one-handed catch has been replayed since that game. There has been talk of the Cowboys moving Orlando Scandrick to left cornerback in the base defense, which could mean more time to defend Beckham, but Scandrick is so valuable in the slot that I don’t think he will be a full-time matchup. The closest move I think the Cowboys made to Beckham-proof their defense was drafting Byron Jones. He's athletically gifted, as evidenced by his 12-foot-3 broad jump at the combine, and he has good size and speed to stick with Beckham. But back to my question: I don’t see the Cowboys doing anything truly special scheme-wise to take out Beckham. It’s not what Rod Marinelli does. They will double him and try to mix up their looks, but I don’t see them doing anything out of the ordinary, mostly because that is not Marinelli’s style.

Phil Sheridan, Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles got torched by Dez Bryant and DeSean Jackson as well as Beckham last year. And that was just in the NFC East. Jordy Nelson had a lot of fun against the Eagles’ secondary, too. Chip Kelly rebuilt his secondary and hired a new defensive backs coach.

That’s a start. I’ll be interested to see if the Eagles also move away from playing their cornerbacks on set sides, regardless of the offensive alignment. That allows opponents to decide who will cover top receivers like Beckham and Bryant. By letting Byron Maxwell follow Beckham around wherever he lines up, the Eagles could dictate matchups and make Maxwell earn that $62 million contract.

Bottom line: It will take better players and a smarter scheme to deal with the likes of Beckham, Bryant and Jackson.

John Keim, Washington Redskins: I think one adjustment the Redskins need to make is to quit yapping along with him. Bashaud Breeland was induced into a taunting penalty while guarding Beckham (and a holding penalty on the same play as well). Last year, Redskins players and coaches said Beckham had a strong personality, one that rubbed others the wrong way. In the one game he played against Washington, Beckham caught 12 passes for 143 yards. What the Redskins have done, though, is improve their secondary. I don’t know that they’ll make any schematic changes to stop him, and with a new coordinator I don’t know what their approach will be. They have a strong No. 1 corner in Chris Culliver, so that will definitely help.