Beckham big challenge for Porter, Chicago Bears secondary

As the Chicago Bears' best cornerback, nine-year veteran Tracy Porter will have the most responsibility for covering New York Giants mercurial wide receiver Odell Beckham.

Beckham may or may not be the best pass-catcher the Bears have faced all year, but he's the most watchable - and not always for his play on the field, which is often spectacular.

There also is a sideshow quality to Beckham's game, whether it's a petulant sideline tirade or a fistfight and three unnecessary roughness penalties in the same game, resulting in a one-game suspension.

Beckham can talk a lot of trash, but that's a game Porter won't play.

"I'm not one to fall into those types of things," he said. "I don't know what his deal is, or why he likes it. That's just a part of his game. Me, we're sitting at 2-7 right now.

"There's no point in me to get overly hyped about what antics he's going to bring to the game. I just have to cover him, do my job, and then do whatever I can to come out with a victory."

Beckham is clearly quarterback Eli Manning's go-to guy and a big reason the Giants are 6-3. Beckham is seventh in the league with 773 receiving yards, tied for 10th with 54 catches and tied for fourth with 6 touchdown receptions. He's had at least 3 catches in each of his last 34 games.

The 5-foot-11, 198-pound 2014 first-round draft pick is just about everything anyone would want in a wide receiver.

"Speed, quickness, athleticism, hands, leaping ability, route running," said Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio when asked what makes Beckham so good. "The guy is really the total package at receiver. This guy is pretty special."

Despite missing five games in his first two seasons, Beckham caught 187 passes for 2,755 yards and 25 touchdowns, averaging 14.7 yards per catch. No player in NFL history has had as many yards in his first two seasons.

But Porter has had his share of tough assignments. Last week he was instrumental in limiting the Tampa Bay Bucs' Mike Evans to 4 catches for 66 yards, and Porter's mission this week is at least as difficult.

"It's just another challenge," said the 5-11, 200-pounder. "He's obviously a good player that everyone pays attention to. It's going to be another challenge for us in the secondary this week.

"Once he gets the ball in his hands, he's a great athlete. We just have to be mindful of it and do what we can and play sound football and not let him get those explosive plays."

Beckham is the only player in league history with 200 catches in his first 30 games and the only one with 3,000 receiving yards in his first 30 games. And he just recently turned 24.

In the game last season that earned him a suspension, then-Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman, who also had two unnecessary-roughness penalties, "held" Beckham to 6 catches for 76 yards. In their rematch in Week 3 this year, with Norman playing for Washington, Beckham had 7 catches for 121 yards.

Beckham can be distracted, but he also can be destructive.

Porter says mind games aren't his thing.

"I may be one of the boring guys," he said. "I'm like, 'What's the point?' I come out here to just do my job and help my team win. I may talk to guys here or there on the field. (But) I'm not about to get into any personal battles and go back and forth with the guys. It doesn't even make sense to me, to be honest."

For a Bears secondary that starts a pair of 23-year-old safeties and has seven other players 25 or younger, a war of words with Beckham isn't recommended. They'll have their hands full playing it straight.

"We don't really believe in that," Fangio said. "We have such young guys back there, they're just hanging on to get to the next play and figure out what they're doing."

• Follow Bob's Bears reports on Twitter @BobLeGere.

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