New York Giants star Odell Beckham Jr. and rapper Lil’ Wayne, who dropped a new – and possibly his last – album last week, sat down with ESPN’s Josina Anderson on Tuesday for an interview that will air on Sunday morning during the network’s “Sunday NFL Countdown” program.
On Friday, ESPN released an excerpt from the chat, which focused on Beckham’s feelings on what’s led to the Giants’ 1-3 start.
‘How come we can’t throw the ball for more than 20 yards?’
Beckham signed a five-year, $95 million contract extension in August, keeping him with the Giants for the foreseeable future. The team drafted über-talented running back Saquon Barkley with the No. 2 pick in this year’s draft, in theory giving them two top offensive skill players for the next several years.
But Beckham might not be too happy with the offense so far, and more specifically quarterback Eli Manning.
After saying, “It’s just a matter of when we’re gonna go on a run,” Beckham turned critical.
“How come we can’t throw the ball for more than 20 yards? How come we don’t attempt or try to throw the ball for more than 20 yards?,” he said. “Those are questions that we have to figure out, but for now I would say it’s our heart, it’s our energy. It’s what we bring when we line up before the game, all of that. It counts.”
Beckham’s longest catch so far this season is just 30 yards, and he’s only averaging 10.7 yards per catch, a significant dip from the 13.5 YPC he had in 2016, his last full season.
Through four games, the Giants have just nine completions of 20 or more yards (for comparison, the Rams, Chiefs and Buccaneers all have 20 or more), and none of 40 or more yards.
And while New York’s offensive line, in particular tackle Erick Flowers, has been a frequent punching bag over the last couple of years, that group is getting better, or at least was better against the Saints last week: ESPN Giants reporter Jordan Raanan tweeted that after re-watching the game, he didn’t see a single hit on Manning, and just one time when he was pressured:
Just finished watching the All-22 of the first half from Sunday. Eli Manning wasn't touched once. Took ZERO QB hits. I counted 1 pressure. Using the O-line excuse this week is lazy. This is his pocket on the second missed throw of the first half to Odell Beckham Jr. pic.twitter.com/C5bftrAPMl
— Jordan Raanan (@JordanRaanan) October 2, 2018
‘A lot of it has to do with the energy we don’t have’
But that wasn’t Beckham’s only comment about what’s ailing the Giants right now.
“It’s just, it’s a different place – the energy. It isn’t like – where I say we [he and Lil’ Wayne are from Louisiana] come from – it isn’t that savage mentality,” he said. “And it’s partly the NFL. You know, it’s different than college.
“When we left practice in college, we goin’ to get some food, we gonna chill in the room like we chill together. And [in the NFL] when everybody leaves they’ve got a family, they’ve got a wife, they’ve got kids to come home to. And…I don’t have that, so I try and build that relationship with my teammates because I want to know who am I going to war with everyday. When the heat’s on, who is this person outside of just being at work and saying what’s up?
“So a lot of it has to do with the energy that we don’t have, that we don’t bring every single day. And you know me. I’m a passionate, energetic person. I always have to have that. If I don’t, it’s gonna be a problem for me. And just playing with some heart. We just need to play with some heart. We’re only 1-3, you know. The year we went 11-5 [in 2016], we were 2-3. We ended up being 2-3 after five games. So you never know when you can go on a run.”
Shurmur sees heart where Beckham doesn’t
On Friday, Shurmur disagreed with Beckham’s belief that the Giants lack fire.
“I do know this, our team has a heck of a lot of heart. Our team plays with a lot of energy,” he said. “What we haven’t done is we haven’t really executed quite as well as we need to yet. That is really … instead of energy, it’s more execution. And I think that is what we’re all striving for.”
Shurmur said he’d spoken with Beckham earlier Friday, but seemed to have no issue with that the receiver had said. Asked if Beckham would be disciplined by the team, Shurmur asked, “For what?”
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