LONDON — Rams coach Jeff Fisher, whose teams have regularly been considered among the most undisciplined and penalized in the league throughout his career, said he gave his players an example this week of what can happen if you take things too far.
That example was named Odell Beckham Jr.
“It’s a weekly discussion, just don’t hurt our football team,” Fisher said after his team’s practice outside London on Thursday regarding how he tries to rein in his fiery and often over-the-line players. “Regardless of what happens out there, regardless of what’s said or regardless of the reaction of an opponent, don’t put yourself in a position to hurt the football team.”
That’s when he brought up the new poster boy for that kind of behavior.
“I think Odell learned that last week when a big touchdown play that shifted the game he let loose of his emotions, took his helmet off, and now they’re kicking off from the 20-yard line,” Fisher said. “Those things are hard. I think the whole league needs to learn from that. Give yourself a chance to win. That could have cost them a victory last week. We don’t want to put ourselves in a position to where those kind of things happen to us.”
Fisher, a former member of the NFL’s competition committee, said he thinks Beckham has done a good job of calming himself down after several weeks in which his temper drew national attention.
“He had his issues,” Fisher said. “If you watch a couple of games after that, especially the Green Bay game, he settled down completely. He was helping opponents up off the ground, slapping them on the read end.”
Fisher credited the Giants’ coaches with corralling that Beckham fire.
“I think they did a good job up there,” he said. “He’s an emotional player, that’s why he’s so talented. Every play is so important to him.”
Fisher is clearly a fan of Beckham’s, not just as a “don’t do this” role model for his players. He said that Beckham’s talents could take him to the top in NFL history, assuming he continues to play without penalties, distractions and injuries.
“I think he’s learned,” Fisher said. “He’s got a chance to go down as one of the all-time best, he’s really special . . . If he stays healthy over the next five to seven years — he takes a slant and goes 70 yards just like he did at the end of the game [against the Ravens]. There are not a lot of guys right now playing the game other than Julio [Jones] and some other guys who can do that. He makes all the catches and runs all the routes and the run-after-catch stuff is really impressive.”
There still remains, though, that underlying tension between Beckham’s play and his behavior. Case in point: The last time Beckham faced the Rams, it resulted in an ugly brawl.
“That was his rookie year,” Fisher said. “I think he’s learned from it. We’re not anticipating anything this week, we’re just going to line up and play. Something got out of hand with respect to both teams [in 2014].”