The narratives that continuously flow around the New York Giants change drastically at any comment or collection made available to the public. Recently, star receiver, Odell Beckham Jr., weighed in on the current state of a team that currently boasts a 1-5 record and is arguably the worst in professional football.
It’s important to realize, before these quotes, that Beckham Jr. is not at fault for the lack of offensive production so far this season. The offensive line has been in shambles, with center Jon Halapio suffering a season ending injury, Patrick Omameh struggling heavily in pass protection, and undrafted sophomore Chad Wheeler filling is filling in for the waives Ereck Flowers.
Throw in the fact that big free agent signing, Nate Solder, has been inconsistent at left tackle. Quarterback Eli Manning has been overwhelmed by pressure due to a lack of protection in the pocket. General manager Dave Gettleman attempted to piece together the offensive front during the offseason, but clearly he made a few significant mistakes. Despite his free agent signings, Gettleman had a fantastic draft. Left guard Will Hernandez has been a bright light among a cloud of darkness.
To establish the foundation of the Giants’ problems, we must look no further than the offensive line. Manning on the other hand deserves some of the blame as well, considering his lack of confidence to stand in the pocket and deliver passes. Beckham has been held back by the play of his quarterback, which is what likely caused him to lash out towards ESPN in an exclusive interview.
â€œI feel like, in the past five years, they found a way to play cover two. Keep everything in front of them,â€™â€™ BeckhamÂ stated in the ESPN interview.
â€œHow do we beat this? I feel like Iâ€™m getting out-schemed. I can take a slant and go 60. All the top receivers get the ball that they should, and if they donâ€™t, they say something about it.
â€œEverything at the moment. Itâ€™s just everything. Itâ€™s just everything. Not to say that it isnâ€™t going to work. But, right now, I feel like I have to work entirely too hard.â€
This can be perceived as a shot at head coach Pat Shurmur, simply because “out-schemed” would imply that his tactics aren’t working. Or, it can just be frustration towards how the opposing teams are defending. But, if you think about it, you can understand the fact that both offensive and defensive coordinators are in a strategic game of chess with the intention of making the right moves at the right times.
Here’s where things get interesting – the offensive coordinator needs his players to carry out their assignments with perfect timing and efficiency, but having a bad offensive line throws everything off. The receivers don’t have enough time to complete their routes, causing Shurmur to play dump-off football, which is easily stopped by playing cover 2 consistently. It allows two safeties to play about 15 yards back and swarm to the ball once Eli Manning inevitably dumps it off to Saquon Barkley. You can’t imagine what this offense would look like without Barkley making the impossible seem possible.
So, to review, the foundation of the Giants is compromised by a bad offensive line. The systems are not running smoothly and it’s holding the entire team back. It was expected that Big Blue would struggle out of the gate after a massive front-office overhaul.
Now, it comes down to Manning not being able to escape the pocket and wait for his receivers to complete their routes.
â€œI donâ€™t know. I feel like, heâ€™s not going to get out of the pocket. We know Eliâ€™s not going to run it. Can he still throw it? Yeah. Itâ€™s cool catching it shallow and trying to take it, but I want to go over the top of somebody. â€
His vaguely negative comments are what seem to bother me the most. “Can he still throw it? Yeah.Â Itâ€™s cool catching it shallow…” This could be perceived as a shot at Manning, since he’s saying Eli can throw it short, but he wants the ball deep and he can’t get it there. This was another portion of his comments that questioned his intention to inspire, apparently.
My opinion on the matter is rather negative, but only because the Giants now have a leader that’s quietly showing his intangible abilities. The truth is, the Giants haven’t had a true leader in years – a guy that stands up and inspires not just a unit, but the entire team. A voice of humbleness and reason that resonates within every player.
Saquon Barkley is now that man for Big Blue. Only six games into his professional career and he is as blue chip as they come. He answers respectively and takes all the blame for the failures of his team. He focuses on the aspects he needs to improve on, shielding his teammates from negativity. Beckham unfortunately allows them to eat away at his ego until he is forced to lash out under sensitive circumstances. And with an extroverted owner, John Mara felt it necessary to attack his $95 million man at a public forum. The idiocy and lack of judgement from Mara was truly unbelievable.
It’s hard to imagine the 2017 repeating itself, but we are two more losses from getting back to square one. The entire offense next year will be shaken up, you can bet your money on that. Half the line will be replaced, wide receivers will come and go, and Manning might not be leading from under center. It could be the change of the guard just a mere 15 years after Eli’s inception into the league in 2004.
Well, after looking into the comments, we can come to the conclusion that Beckham probably shouldn’t have spoken out. Simply because it questioned his leadership skills, and it forced the Mara to speak out aggressively towards his star player. But, the silver lining is that Barkley is shaping up to be the real leader of this team.