When your team is 2-6, on its way to ~2-8 and ~6-11, regurgitating how the Giants found yet another way to lose on Monday night is not the way I like to spend my time. We fellow Giants fans deserve much more than the worst record in the NFL since 2017. So we blog to find ways to get better. More on that at the end of this post.
I tolerate Wide Receivers. Barely. I’d prefer that they be seen and not heard. Unfortunately, we hear too much from them off the field and see too little of them (thanking & congratulating their OL on touchdowns) while on it. We have documented how Round 1 WRs do not stick with the original team that drafted them… for one reason or another. This week we had not one but two “another’s.”
The carnage Henry Ruggs caused to a family, a dog, the Raiders, the NFL, and to himself is nauseating, sad and frankly disturbing.
The second WR to make off the field news this week was none other than Odell Beckham Jr. The Browns unceremoniously released him.
Round 1 Wide Receivers are the alpha males of alpha males. OBJ became a rock star overnight after making a sensational TD catch in primetime vs the Dallas Cowboys. His decline began after the infamous boat trip between the regular season and the first (and only) appearance in the playoffs of the Giants in the past decade (2012-2021). Buy low and sell high. The Wide Receivers sold high on that jet charter to Miami, failing to show up 6 days later on the field. The picture of them off the field became a meme.
Two seasons later, the NY Giants were in a full fledged bear market on OBJ. The epilogue was chronicled by this NY Giants blog. Whether you read it or not, it is worth a(nother) read. The circumstances of that exit are extremely relevant to what has happened in Cleveland.
Two and a half seasons after his Giants exit, a half life after five seasons in NY, OBJ has been sent packing again by the Browns. The inside story of what happened in Cleveland is not a shock. Wide Receivers are volatile.
It has to be acknowledged that 31 other teams wouldn’t trade a dime for OBJ. Let that sink in. Whether it’s (1) injuries or (2) not running the routes you’re supposed to run or (3) not making the effort to work the scramble drill or (4) causing enough heartache from 2 NFL franchises to force them both to walk away, OBJ is damaged goods.
I’m reminded of another Round 1 Wide Receiver from a generation ago, Keyshawn Johnson. Wayne Chrebet was the undrafted mutt. Keyshawn was the (self-described)“star.” It wasn’t until Bill Parcells took over that Johnson began delivering what mattered. Volatile alpha WRs need grounding. Odell Beckham needs a super strong head coach that can explain what’s needed: keep your mouth shut, run the routes you are expected to run, don’t give any lip to the QB/press, and if you have a problem come to me. Johnson got a ring in TB, only to be suspended and released the following season. It’s a reminder of how difficult it can be to manage the phenomenal talents of these players.
It’s somewhat remarkable to me that Giants fans still want OBJ back. For what? Right now they have an offensive coordinator who is inconsistent at best. More often than not Garrett is uncompetitive in a league that has advanced well past his skills. Judge’s ability to manage resources is a big question mark. Gettleman and the Giants said goodbye to OBJ 3 seasons ago. There is no Offensive Line for the QB to reasonably allow WRs to spread the field for a patient WR, let alone an impatient one like OBJ. So why are fans fantasizing about a reunion? Nostalgia for 2014? Football players play to help their team compete. The goal of competition is to be the best and to win titles. The only way OBJ is going to help any team is if he takes a back seat and becomes a soldier. Soldiers do as they are told and don’t ask questions. (OBJ apparently has been doing the exact opposite.) There may be an opportunity for him, but it’s certainly not in NY. Right now the Giants have one priority- a new GM from outside the organization who can objectively come in and make the changes necessary to put this franchise back on track. It is off the track. We saw that with another season of failure to help the Offensive Line meaningfully. If there’s been one thing we’ve always been right about, it’s that WRs are a dime a dozen, they’re always available, and you pick one up when you’re close to the prize. The biggest problem right now is that Mara has no clue how far away his franchise is from that prize. Unfortunately many fans pining for OBJ aren’t that far behind him.