You have to have a pretty bad football team for the season to essentially be a lost one in mid-October, yet that’s exactly where the New York Giants are with a 1-5 record.
While not the sole reason the Giants are one of the worst teams in the NFL, a big reason is the play of quarterback Eli Manning. Time and time again, Manning has elected to hit his check down, instead of trying to throw the ball downfield. He averages 7.2 yards per attempt, which simply will not do with how the NFL is structured offensively these days.
One teammate who is unhappy with the offense is star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. Leading up to Week 5, Beckham, accompanied by rap icon and fellow Louisiana native, Lil Wayne, sat down with ESPN’s Josina Anderson. During the interview, Beckham questioned why the ball wasn’t being thrown more than 20-yards down the field.
Anderson asked Beckham if there was an issue at quarterback, to which he replied “I don’t know.” The answer to that question is yes, plain and simple. Manning, who is 37, is not helping this team win, evident by the record. It’s not entirely on Manning, as his offensive is among the worst in the league, which has resulted in a league-high 20 sacks allowed.
Manning is not a mobile quarterback, so whenever the line collapses and the defense comes charging through, Manning is essentially a sitting duck.
After the interview aired, Beckham received a bunch of criticism for his comments, but why though? He has proven to be one of the elite wide outs in the game today, so that type of superstardom should give him the right to voice his displeasure, especially when asked about it. The Giants clearly thought Beckham was a good enough player to help lead the franchise by way of a five-year, $95 million extension before the season.
Signing Beckham to that big of an extension was the right move, but the team also did a disservice to him at the same time by not having a plan for Manning’s successor. For the past few seasons, the Giants could have had their pick of a bunch of quarterbacks who are starting to take the league by storm. All of those young guys are being put into packages and schemes that not only benefit them, but also their supporting receiving casts.
In the 2018 draft, the Giants selected former Penn State running back Saquon Barkley, which is both the right and wrong draft selection. It is good because he was arguably the best player on the entire draft board and he is showing that by putting up stellar numbers in his rookie campaign. It was a bad choice in the sense that there were a handful of quarterbacks who could have taken over for Manning within the next couple seasons.
By not finding a successor to Manning already, New York is stuck between a rock and a hard place. Many feel Manning should be benched, and it has been reported that wouldn’t be unwelcome by those on the team. However, not having a successor is making that difficult as the current backup is Alex Tanney (who?).
The Giants upper management has shown great loyalty to Manning, who helped win two Super Bowls, but that Manning isn’t walking through the door anytime soon.
Back to Beckham’s comments. What he said wasn’t wrong, it was just brutally honest, which unapologetically is who he is. Athletes get asked hundreds of questions per week, yet often times get criticized for some comments they make. Beckham certainly fits that, especially with the Lil Wayne interview.
Head coach Pat Shurmur was not thrilled with Beckham’s comments and the team even fined him. Shurmur said those issues would be handled in the locker room, but how many guys on the team have the stature of the talented wide receiver? Realistically, nobody on that team has more clout than Beckham, outside of maybe Manning, but his play diminishes that.
Beckham does have an immature side, as he still throws tantrums on the sidelines whenever he becomes frustrated by the offense and not being able to beat defenders over the top. However, when you are that passionate about wanting to be the greatest you can be and help lead a team to a championship, those emotions are going to spill out for better or for worse.
It’s not like Beckham isn’t doing his part, with 45 receptions, 506 yards and a touchdown, yet that’s still not enough.
From the lackluster and at times atrocious play of Manning to Beckham’s interview and comments to the 1-5 start, the New York Giants are a dysfunctional mess that doesn’t seem like it will get better anytime soon.