ESTIMATED READING TIME: 3 minutes 30 seconds
What an October it’s been for the New York Giants. What started with their star receiver calling out his teammates for a lack of effort on the field has ended with a 21-point dismantling at home by their division rivals. Oh, and we aren’t even halfway through the month yet.
For the second straight year it seems as though all is lost on this season for the Giants – before we even flip the calendar into November. A new GM and head coach, paired with an All-World rookie running back have yielded the same results as last season; a 1-5 record through 6 games.
So after all these changes, where has it all gone wrong (again)?
When asked by Josina Anderson about whether or not he is happy in New York, Odell Beckham Jr. responded, “That’s a tough question”. Beckham, who has over 1,300 receiving yards and double-digit touchdown catches in every season he’s played 12 or more games, went on to speak about the Giants’ inability to move the ball effectively on offense.
Beckham took this opportunity to question the heart and energy level of his teammates, while also saying that despite this, they have a chance to make something of this season. “We just need to play with some heart. We’re only 1 and 3. I mean the year we went 11 and 5 we were 2 and 3. You never know when you can go on a run but it’s just a matter of when”
After the interview, the Giants went on to lose on a last second field goal to the Carolina Panthers, 33-31 in what was their first game scoring over 30 points since 2015, a streak of 37 regular-season games. Beckham, for his part, had 8 catches for 131 yards and a touchdown while also throwing a 57-yard touchdown to rookie running back Saquon Barkley.
Beckham’s comments seemed to have divided some in the Giants’ locker room, with a report claiming that head coach Pat Shurmur forced Beckham to apologize to the team before Sunday’s game against Carolina.
The interview has turned the Giants, who have lost 19 of their last 23 games, into a circus. That damn interview.
Beckham was just about in the clear with the media. Most had forgotten about or moved past that infamous boat trip. His year off due to injury had given him a clean slate; one in which his past behavior had been just that – in the past. No more punching holes in locker room walls, no more fights with the kicking net, no more models in Paris. Just football.
Coming into the season, Beckham was due for a new contract. He didn’t follow the likes of Le’Veon Bell, Aaron Donald, or Khalil Mack. He didn’t hold out. Instead, he showed up to camp ready to work and was rewarded with a 5-year, $95 million contract. All his undesired behavior was behind him.
But maybe Beckham was right to call out his teammates. After all, they did respond well in the Carolina game and the only teammate he called out by name – quarterback Eli Manning – threw for over 300 yards and 2 touchdowns in that game.
Manning, a two-time Super Bowl MVP, has aged quickly behind his offensive line and the Giants’ front office has to be planning for his eventual successor, despite publicly standing behind their franchise quarterback.
Beckham just said what the rest of his teammates were already thinking – Manning can’t get out of the pocket, the team doesn’t seem to trust him throwing the ball downfield, and he hasn’t been able to help the skill players around him reach their full potential.
The problem in the New York locker room is that the franchise has put too much faith in the 37-year-old quarterback. Young leaders in the locker room are chastised in the media for speaking out about Manning’s recent struggles.
A team with a tremendous young core of skill players – Barkley, Beckham, Evan Engram, and Sterling Shepard – has had to hamper the leadership of these young players in favor of trying to squeeze one last championship run out of Manning.
Giants fans should prepare for an unfamiliar face at the helm. Any future success will be without Eli Manning.