Odell Beckham Jr.: 'I could be used more. I want to do more.'
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — All Odell Beckham Jr. wants is a chance — a chance to be the playmaker he has always been, a chance to salvage a season before it slips away for good.
The New York Giants’ star insisted that all hope is not lost when it comes to his 0-2 team, which was embarrassed on national television at the hands of the rival Dallas Cowboys on “Sunday Night Football.” But Beckham divulged one thing before he exited the locker room Thursday afternoon: He is desperate.
Desperate to be more involved, that is.
“I’m a shooter. So if I don’t get to shoot, you kind of feel useless, no matter what you’re doing,” the NFL superstar told Yahoo Sports during a quiet moment before practice. “Even when I’m out there decoying and distracting defenses and drawing coverages, there’s still that part of you that wants to get your shot up.”
Asked if he truly feels expendable, Beckham — who in August signed a five-year contract extension that made him the highest-paid wide receiver in the NFL — quietly replied: “No, not useless. I just feel like I can do more. I could be used more. I want to do more. I feel like that’s why they kept me here.”
After finally deciding the young receiver’s immaturity and off-field issues weren’t deal breakers, the Giants’ brass agreed to pay the talented pass-catcher as much as $95 million, including nearly $65 million guaranteed. And now Beckham, who amassed more than 1,300 receiving yards in each of his first three NFL seasons before an ankle injury curtailed his 2017 campaign after only four games, is eager to make up for lost time.
Admitting he wants the ball more is a dangerous proposition, the polarizing playmaker conceded. “Yeah,” Beckham said, flashing a playful grin, “’Cause you already know I’m a prima donna, diva, all that good stuff.”
The former 12th overall pick has been here before, immersed in an offense struggling to find its way and navigating the inevitable frustration that nags at players who know they are more talented than their record indicates. The Giants will depart for Houston this week on the precipice of another potentially disastrous season with a Sunday showdown with the Texans (also 0-2) on the horizon.
Neither team can afford to lose three consecutive games —especially the Giants. Not after so many losing seasons after Super Bowl triumphs, not after so much front-office upheaval. And certainly not after they set high expectations with the arrival of Saquon Barkley.
The Giants had a choice this offseason: Begin anew or win now. And with a slew of college quarterbacks at their disposal, the front office chose Barkley, the Penn State running back with rare talent, at No. 2 overall. The move signaled the organization was not in rebuild mode and instead prepared to ride out 2018 with 15-year veteran Eli Manning as their starting quarterback.
This year was supposed to be different. This year, the Giants were supposed to be good. And so far, they are not.
But first-year head coach Pat Shurmur and his players spent the past week insisting to reporters that a 0-2 start isn’t insurmountable. Beckham maintained the same, too, although he acknowledged the Cowboys (1-1) “just came out and outplayed us” and when asked why their deep-ball game has disappeared, he simply said: “We had some shots but we just didn’t connect on them.”
He watched as the ball made its way into the hands of other targets against the Cowboys on Sunday night. Beckham’s final stat line — four catches for 51 yards on nine targets, compared to Barkley’s 14 catches for 80 yards on 16 targets — reflected Beckham’s lack of involvement on offense. “It’s tough, but I think that’s the part where I’ve grown up the most,” he said. “Just being able to stay in it and know that it’s always one play that’s right there. It’s always one play away.”
Beckham admitted force-feeding him the football isn’t always the best option. “Like Coach said, you don’t just want to throw them into coverage and stuff like that,” the receiver said, “but just finding ways to get the ball into the hands of the playmakers and allow us to make plays and keep the ball moving, keep this offense going in the right direction.”
Since 1980, only five NFL teams have reached the playoffs after starting 0-3. Those odds — 2.9 percent — aren’t in the Giants’ favor. And Beckham knows it.
“It’s making a conscious effort and decision to put a stop to it at some point. …Just play at a higher level than we have been,” he told reporters, maintaining his optimism about the weeks ahead. “… You can lose eight in a row, you can win eight in a row. You never know. …It can go either way real quick. We just want to make sure it doesn’t go that way. Get this first win, then try and get it going.”
The last time the Giants scored 30 points in a game was Jan. 3, 2016, when they lost, 35-30, to the Philadelphia Eagles — a statistic that still stuns Beckham. “I feel like there’s no way you can’t score a touchdown in every quarter… It just doesn’t seem unrealistic to me,” he said. “I feel personally, I could score two touchdowns every game. I feel like Saquon could score two every game. There are other people on this team who could score every single game. That’s over 35 points.”
Even worse, the superstar doesn’t remember the last time he won an NFL game.
(Jan. 1, 2016 vs. the Washington Redskins, by the way).
🎥: OBJ on #Giants not scoring 30pts in forever: “I feel like there’s no way you can’t score a TD in every quarter… I could score 2TDs every game…Saquon could score 2 every game. There are other ppl on this team who could score every single game. That’s over 35pts.” pic.twitter.com/K2mU9dBJYU
— Kimberley A. Martin (@ByKimberleyA) September 20, 2018
“I haven’t won one in a long time,” Beckham said, somewhat exasperated. “It’s definitely not a good feeling, not something you come here to do. You don’t come here to lose, you just don’t.”
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