Coughlin defends Odell Beckham Jr.

New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin came to Odell Beckham Jr.'s defense Monday, a day after his star rookie wide receiver received a taunting penalty and was involved in a sideline brawl with the St. Louis Rams.

"Every time Odell plays, he learns more about the National Football League, and he learns about the way in which he is being interpreted -- some good, some bad," Coughlin said. "And I think he continues to try to want to do things the right way, and we'll continue to try to teach him, without taking away from his ability and his excitement."

After the first of his two touchdown catches in the game, Beckham spun the ball on the ground. It's something he's done before without being flagged, but this time the officials penalized him.

The TD celebration also upset the Rams, according to St. Louis safety T.J. McDonald. A second-quarter melee broke out thanks to a late hit by Rams linebacker Alec Ogletree on Beckham.

Coughlin doesn't think Beckham was taunting the Rams.

"There's no way you want to take anything away from the guy on the field, except some of the things that you see -- and I'm not trying to tell you that everything that he does is intentionally directed at the opponents; it's not," Coughlin said. "But if it's being interpreted by the officials as it is, then we've gotta do something about it."

So Coughlin did -- he pulled Beckham aside on the Giants' return trip to New Jersey.

"I spoke to him on the way out on the plane about a couple of things that I was interested in continuing to talk to him about," Coughlin said. "I want everyone to realize the quality of the young man and not be offset by some of the things that he has done. And he looked at me and said, 'Coach, stay after me.'

"So he wants to learn, he wants to continue to improve and be better, and I think he will. And I think going forward as he understands the professional game that he will understand that some of the things that take place send the wrong message."

Beckham has also communicated with Michael Jordan about handling on-the-field responsibilities and delving into the mindset of an all-time great athlete.

Beckham continues to take the league by storm and is now the front-runner for the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award despite missing the first four games of the season with a hamstring injury.

In just 11 games, Beckham has 79 receptions for 1,120 yards and 11 touchdowns. Those 79 catches are the most in NFL history for a player in his first 11 career games.