LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Four days before the season opener, Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio offered a blunt assessment of first-round draft pick Leonard Floyd.
“Overall his camp was kind of choppy,” Fangio said of the outside linebacker Wednesday. “First, early on, he had an illness that kept him out a couple days. Then he came back. Then he dinged his shoulder a little bit. It kept him out a couple days. Then he tweaked the hamstring, which kept him out.
“So I think the best word has been choppy and inconsistent, more from an availability standpoint to where he could have [had] a large chunk of good, learning practices in a week playing in a preseason game.”
“The only reason you take him in and out [of games], is one, like I said, because of those things I mentioned in training camp. I don’t think he’s in the greatest condition right now,” Fangio said. “And I think for a young guy like himself, playing 60 to 70 plays in an NFL game, he’s going to find it vastly different than the 80 plays he might have played in college. OK? He’s up against men now. And he’s found that out quickly.
“Some ways it’s not a bad way to break in. When we had Aldon Smith [whom Fangio coached in San Francisco] in his rookie year he only played about 50-some percent of the time. He was in and out, too.
“[Floyd] is athletic. He can run. I think he’s got good instincts. He just has to learn what to do and how to do it more consistently.”
Whenever Beckham takes the field, all eyes are on the electric receiver. He’s eccentric, flashy and talented. He makes one-handed grabs, plans elaborate touchdown dances and holds an extended, one-handed catch session during warm-ups.
Does it make him a villain?
“I don’t know. You tell me,” Beckham said. “Could be that way, couldn’t be that way, I don’t know. I’m more focused on this year and accomplishing the goals that we have set out — winning games.”
Opposing players, particularly Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman, have cited Beckham’s whining and constant complaining as reasons why there is dislike for him.
Cornerback Chris Culliver, now with the Miami Dolphins, called Beckham “the most complaining person I’ve went against.” Stephon Gilmore of the Buffalo Bills called him a prima donna.
But Beckham thinks differently in regards to why those perceptions exist.
“Because of this,” he said, flashing a grin from ear to ear. “I don’t know. I have fun. I’m myself at all times and I don’t think it’s necessarily liked all the time, unless you’re on my side. I can’t really control that. Like I said, I can’t control who likes, doesn’t like me. It’s football at this point.”
Beckham does have his backers. He’s popular in the locker room and is developing into a respected leader among his Giants teammates. He has also built a stable of NFL friends, including Miami’s Jarvis Landry, Cincinnati’s Jeremy Hill, Arizona’s Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu, Dallas cornerback Morris Claiborne, Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown, Minnesota’s Teddy Bridgewater and seemingly anyone else with LSU ties.