There are plenty of perks about being Odell Beckham Jr. But also some perils.
One of the negatives was evident in Saturday's game against the Jaguars when the second-year wide receiver did not have a catch and at least two of those incompletions were the result of him avoiding a punishing blow from a defensive back. Beckham is one of the hottest players in the NFL right now, and it seems as if every young hotshot gunslinger wants to make his name as the hombre who took down Billy the Kid.
"I was a little unhappy last week, I felt like some of those DBs were gunning for him," Victor Cruz said Tuesday. "When guys have an opportunity to get an interception and they don't even go for the ball . . . I get it, it's preseason, you're trying to get a job, and I understand that. But let's just keep it within the game."
Sergio Brown seemed to be the biggest culprit for those kinds of plays. He buzzed Beckham on the second deep pass of the game down the left sideline and then in the second quarter, he and Beckham got face to face after another deep route that he seemed intent on breaking up with a thunderous blow.
Cruz said he thought Beckham did a good job of deciding to avoid the big hits rather than extend for the passes.
"You can tell," Cruz said of knowing when a defensive back is locked in on you. "From the line, you can see it as you run your vertical route. You take a peek at the safety to see where he is before you look at the ball and you just see him head-down trying to spear you, you can see that from a mile away. He's a smart kid, he understands that. It's just unfair. It made me upset a little bit."
One of the reasons Cruz said he was upset was because he was not in the game himself.
"It was sad to see that go down because I couldn't help him, go out and run routes and take some of the pressure off of him," Cruz said.
Cruz helps in other ways, though. Not too long ago, he was the NFL's golden boy and the target of similar tactics. He's spoken with Beckham about that experience.
"You have to power through it," Cruz said. "You have to expect it every game. There's a difference between coming in and not expecting it and getting it and then you are surprised. You have to come into the game expecting that that's how you are going to be treated and make your adjustments off that . . . It's just something that he's got to deal with and kind of battle through. It's not easy, especially early on in the preseason, to go through something like that. But there are guys like myself and the entire receiver room who help him get through it."