FLOWERY BRANCH – When you break into the league as a rookie and have 91 catches for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns over 12 games, all of the defensive coordinators take notice.
Falcons coach Dan Quinn and defensive coordinator Richard Smith certainly know about Odell Beckham, Jr., the New York Giants’ second-year flash from LSU.
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The Falcons will face Beckham, who was the 12th player taken in the 2014 draft out, and the Giants at 1 p.m. Sunday at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
Here are a four-point plan to stop Beckham
1. Challenge him. He was targetted eight times and caught five passes for 44 yards against Dallas.
“He’s very aggressive player,” Smith said. “He tracks the ball extremely well. (He’s) one of Eli Manning’s) No 1 targets. Last week, he was targeted more than anyone else. He can hit you on the deep balls. He can hit on the double moves. He’s also a very aggressive player.”
2. Be aware. The Falcons will have to stay aware of where Beckham lines up.
“They move him around,” Smith said. “They put him in the backfield….. He’s all over the place. It will be a real hard matchup for us, but I think we’ll do a fine job.”
3. Account for his quickness. Quinn faced Beckham last season when he was Seattle’s defensive coordinator. Beckham finished with seven catches for 108 yards against the Seahawks, who won the game 38-17 on Nov. 9, 2014.
“I think the thing that jumps out at you, right away is the quickness,” Quinn said. “What a competitor. He can get separation. He can play inside. He can play outside. They can move him to all different spots. You have to be a really bright guy in order to be able to do that. ….he’s a real challenge for sure.”
4. Match or double-cover? Quinn was understandably vague when asked if Falcons cornerback Desmond Trufant would match-up with Beckham, one-on-one for the entire game.
“I think there would be some combination of both as you go through it,” Quinn said. “We haven’t been through all of the down and distances yet. How we want to play on third down and in the red zone. He’s a factor for sure and one that I know we are looking forward to the challenge as well.”