Before the Giants faced Carolina, OBJ went public with critical comments about Eli Manning, Pat Shurmur and his teammates. I did not read what he said. I really try as hard as I can to tune that stuff out. But it was there.
OBJ spent the offseason behaving. He put a contrite face of personal growth forward. He related humbling experiences post injury which demonstrated maturity. He put the franchise ahead of himself when he did not hold out. And he got paid.
The OBJ that puts the franchise ahead of himself is the one that the team needs. The one that throws others under the bus is not what the team needs. It was significant that OBJ was fined by the team. It was also significant that the owner remarked that OBJ needs to talk less and play more.
Like it or not, OBJ is a leader. Speaking negatively about teammates and/or coaches is not what leaders do. It’s what diva WRs do.
It took 4 games for OBJ to act out. Granted, he saw problems and could not remain quiet. He’s got a desire for greatness and sees obstacles to that. Lead. Don’t publicly air your dirty laundry.
Odell Beckham’s heart is in the right place. His head is somewhere else. He’s way too emotional. His immaturity does not enable him to channel that energy positively.
So what do you do with a leopard who can’t change his spots? He’s a superstar. He’s combustible. He doesn’t have the temperament to lead the team through a rebuild. He doesn’t have the patience to lead the Giants through a rebuild.
There are some players who are in the right place at the wrong time. Ask Michael Strahan how he felt when Eli Manning was drafted in 2004. It’s very tough to be a professional football player while your team is doing a reset. It means years of mental and physical suffering while you wait for players and schemes to come to the point of competitiveness. Strahan admitted that by the time 2007 rolled around, he wasn’t sure he wanted another year of the grind without some kind of possibility of reward. He held out and missed camp. Coughlin changed. Eli’s light went on near the end of the season. XLII happened. And Strahan was the leader of the team, the soul of the team in the middle of the pre-game scrum who was “going to stomp you out.”
That was a four year journey for Strahan. Even Strahan had his personal moments of doubt. OBJ was given a new GM, a new coach, and a new contract. 4 years? He barely lasted 4 games!
In sports and in life, some times it doesn’t matter who you are if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time. Cris Carter was never going to the Hall of Fame in Philadelphia. Jeremy Shockey was not going to win a title with the Giants. Once he got hurt, the Giants won a title- coincidence? He needed the structure of an alpha QB in Drew Brees to know his place in the huddle. When he got that, he became part of a team and won a Super Bowl. Sometimes, a player just needs a different team/structure to make it happen.
OBJ has doubts about Eli. Barring the next QB being Dan Marino, he’s going to have doubts along the way with any new passer. For sure, Eli is on the downhill of his career and it is assumed a new QB will be on the upswing. But there are always going to be plenty of false starts along the way where doubts and impatience are present. Leaders plow through and are strongest at the darkest moments. OBJ kicks FG nets, headbutts sideline fans, and gets fined when the pressure turns up.
Giants fans all love OBJ the superstar. He’s an incredible talent. And yet he’s won absolutely nothing. He may have the desire for being a champion, but 5 years into the NFL he still lacks the skills to be a patient supporter of others while working toward that goal. If OBJ had a coach like Bill Parcells, he could be a part of a rebuild. That’s because Parcells is the strong leader that can lay out the path. Parcells understands how to get from point A to point B. OBJ does not understand how to get to the next game, let alone the next title. Admit it, Giants nation… we pray that OBJ gets off to a good start each game so that he gets into the flow and doesn’t sulk or act out.
Contrast OBJ with a guy like Larry Fitzgerald. Fitz gets doubled and tripled regularly, knowing that that is how he must help his team. Fitzgerald waits his turn. He supports everyone.
How realistic is it to trade OBJ? Because he was signed to a long term deal, very much so. The price of the deals for Khalil Mack and Aaron Donald far surpassed OBJ’s deal. The financial component should therefore not be an obstacle and may actually be an adder for obtaining better trade value.
The next 10 games in the schedule are against NFL garbage. Only two team remain with a winning record (Chicago and Washington, both 3-2). Collectively these ten matchups are 24-32. So it’s Giants slop vs NFL mediocrity. Don’t be fooled if the team collects 3, 4 or even 5 wins. That means 4-12 to 6-10. The fantasy of a top draft pick is about all there is right now. Even if the team improved to 7-9 or 8-8, what would that prove? Gettleman understands he needs a better OL. What is disappointing is that he could pick Omameh over Fluker to get there. Or the “win now” of Stewart. FREE AGENCY SHORTENS THE REBUILDING PROCESS BUT IT DOES NOT ELIMINATE IT.
The Giants need a rebuild. OBJ lacks the patience to wait a quarter, let alone a few years, for success. Right now the Giants have way too many other needs, much of which can be helped by a trade. To be fair to Beckham, he’s been a part of an organization that has failed him. Reese found his talents but he could not find the OL talent to compliment him. Some people are just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
How realistic is it to ask for OBJ to be traded? Consider that Dave Gettleman set off on a path to win now in 2018. Consider that Shurmur scrapped 6 players on his roster the day after waivers. This organization unfortunately has about as much patience as OBJ. Which isn’t a lot. We talk a lot about confronting the brutal facts. Here are brutal facts:
11-5 (Free Agency blowout)
This is like the 1970’s without the Free Agency tool. Free Agency is obstructing the understanding that the roster needs more than an offseason plan. It needs a 2-3 year plan. If the plan is to win a title, it DEFINITELY needs 2-3 years. Because right now, this organization is lost. Hard choices need to be made. Wins vs 1-5 IND SF and other 2-4 dregs shouldn’t put lipstick on this pig. I’d love to have OBJ there when this franchise is ready to win a title. What’s the plan? How does that happen? When does that happen? I don’t think anyone is ready to confront the brutal facts.