Before his Giants took on the Panthers Sunday, Odell Beckham Jr. made widely noted comments in which he expressed unhappiness with his team’s offense, and with quarterback Eli Manning in particular. Then New York suffered a gut-wrenching loss, but its offense also came to life and Beckham said afterward that he had no “regret” about what he said.
“I don’t regret anything,” the wide receiver told reporters (via ESPN), following a 33-31 loss to Carolina in which he caught eight passes for 131 yards and his first receiving touchdown of the season as well as throwing a 57-yard scoring pass to Saquan Barkley. “I don’t regret anything that I said.
“If it took that for us to come together as a team like we did [Sunday],” Beckham continued, “I can take that every single time.”
Giants Coach Pat Shurmur was less satisfied with the fallout from Bekcham’s comments, telling reporters (via NFL.com), “I addressed it with Odell. I addressed it with our team. I publicly declared that I didn’t agree with his comments. And I asked anybody who’s interested that if they wanted a clarification to go to Odell because he’s a big man.”
The source of Shurmur’s evident ire were remarks Beckham made to ESPN’s Josina Anderson in a taped interview that aired before Sunday’s games kicked off. Frustrated at being left out of the party through the first four weeks as offenses put up eye-popping numbers all across the NFL, the three-time Pro Bowler made little effort to rebut a suggestion that one target of his dissatisfaction was Manning
Asked by Anderson if he had “an issue at quarterback,” Beckham’s first reply was, “I don’t know.” He and Manning have been among the NFL’s most prolific and electrifying duos they hadn’t connected for a touchdown this season. It didn’t help that Manning had been sacked the fourth-most times of any quarterback in the NFL this season.
“Like I said, I feel like he’s not going to get out the pocket. He’s not — we know Eli’s not running it. But is it a matter of time issue?” Beckham said, taking issue with the depths of the throws, too. “Can he still throw it, yeah. But it’s been pretty safe and it’s been, you know . . . cool catching shallow [routes] and trying to take it to the house. But I’m, you know, I want to go over the top of somebody.”
Nothing much went for the Giants, now 1-4, over the first four weeks of the season, and to Beckham’s frustration, Manning completed 3 of 12 passes thrown 20 or more yards downfield in that span, completing 2 of 5 to Beckham. Both of those came in the opener.
“I haven’t been in this situation. I haven’t been in the place where I felt like I could really go out and do everything that I’m capable of doing,” Beckham said. “I don’t get 20 targets like some other receivers, you know.”
He also took what appeared to be a shot at the Giants' coaching staff, telling Anderson, “I feel like I’m being outschemed, and then I also don’t have a chance to, like, do something where I’ve got to take a slant and go 60. And not to say that’s not fun, but it’s like I want some easy touchdowns too. I watch everybody across the league. All the top receivers get the ball the way that they, you know, should. And if they don’t, they say something about it.”
"I feel like a caged animal who gets this — it’s my 60 minutes of playtime,” he added. “You know, I can play with other people. We can play nice, or we don’t have to play nice. But I get to play, and I get to do all this. This is my time to be out of the cage. You know, if somebody’s messing with me during my time to be out of the cage, like, it’s going to be a problem.”
Shurmur was “absolutely livid” over Beckham’s comments, according to Jay Glazer of Fox Sports (via Pro Football Talk). The coach’s mood could hardly have been improved by seeing his squad lose Sunday on a 63-yard field goal — tied for the second-longest such effort in NFL history — as time expired.
However, Beckham, who was targeted 14 times in the loss to Carolina, was “excited about the way we pulled together,” saying, “we came up short; but we fought.” He revealed that after letting out “all the stuff that was built up inside” him, which “came out in the wrong way,” he texted Shurmur and asked if he could address the team.
“To be able to do that was big for me,” Beckham said. “I was nervous to get up there and — these are your brothers you see every day; but once you’re up there in front of all of 'em, it’s a little nerve-racking.”
Describing Beckham’s address to the team as “100 percent a positive,” fellow Giants wide receiver Russell Shepard said, “We played our a---- off [Sunday]. It showed. We just didn’t finish the game.”
Manning claimed to not have heard what Beckham said about him. “Odell and I have a great relationship,” the quarterback said. “Our mind-set will be everybody stay focused on beating Philadelphia [next week].”
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