OBJ and the NY Giants

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:

9-7

7-9

6-10

6-10

11-5 (Free Agency blowout)

3-13

1-5

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.

Where Are the Giants?

The Giants fought back vs Carolina to take the lead, only to lose on a 63 yd FG. Four days later they got throttled by their divisional nemesis down the NJ Turnpike. Going from 1-3 to 1-5 and (effectively) ending their season is a pretty raw and violent upheaval. It’s a lot to process in 4 days.

At 1-5, the Giants have the worst record in the NFL. (There are 5 teams who are 1-4.) When new GM Dave Gettleman made Nate Solder the highest paid OT in the NFL, that was not rebuilding. When QB was not taken at #2 overall and you put your present & near future in the hands of Eli Manning, that was not rebuilding. That was win now. And the Giants aren’t winning now.

This NY Giants blog is here to be objective at all times so that we can have a community of fans who are partisan yet honest about the team they root for. When we first got started, some called us haters. Over the years, people understood the balance between support and realism. It’s with that backdrop that we remind everyone what we said and when we said it:

1) Wonder and I both said “QB or trade down.” It was rebuild. If you don’t like QB in 2018 with so many to choose from, let someone else pay up and allow your franchise to at least collect a slew of high draft picks in order to reset the franchise. After the damage that Reese did (we wanted him gone in 2015, two years before he was shown the door), everyone is in FULL agreement that the drafting needed a reload. What better way to do that than trade down from 2 overall? We loved Barkley as the #1 overall ranked player on our board…. THE PROBLEM IS THAT WE COULDN’T AFFORD SUCH A LUXURY. Saquon Barkley is such a class act. He’ll be the face of this franchise (assuming health) for many years. Without a supporting cast he is Barry Sanders. He is a luxury that the Giants cannot afford.

2) Wonder is a Jets fan. So he knows (and detests) the Patriots as well as anyone. He thought paying record money for Nate Solder was ill-advised. The day of the signing he said Solder would likely only last 2 years out of the 4 year deal, and only 3 if his questionable health trajectory held up. He said Solder would be ok in year 1 and mediocre in year 2. And he said that Solder was vulnerable to the speed rush right now. Everyone wanted Solder when Norwell was lost. It was the key to winning now. Everyone said the Giants “had” to sign him. Everyone but Wonder. When Solder got beaten badly by Michael Bennett on a speed rush in Q1, creating a sack + fumble at the 1 yard line, it was a 14-3 deficit and lights out shortly thereafter. Solder is getting old out there. The Solder acquisition is “win now” because the cost in 2020 and 2021 will make it that much harder on the GM to field a competitive team when (in theory) other young talent has been assembled.

3) I predicted 7-9. Wonder predicted 6-10. The Giants needed to rebuild but were hearing none of it. We believed the Giants would be underdogs in the first 7 games and would be staring at at best 3-4, maybe likely 2-5. Thankfully ATL has had a lot of troubles (notably on Defense, allowing 32 pts/game, 1-4), else this next game would be a sure loss and 1-6. At this point, a 4-12 or 5-11 season would not seem so unrealistic. Chicago and Tampa Bay were tallied as wins before the season started and now that is very much in doubt.

4) For those of you on Twitter, do yourself a favor and search “@UltimateNYG rebuild” . It is literally filled with dozens of reminders, acutely in 2013, 2016 and 2018 to rebuild. One step back to go two steps forward.

The 2019 draft is the Giants future. Barkley, Hernandez, Carter and Hill look like a very solid draft class to start a turnaround. But the Giants need quantity, not just quality.

Eli has slipped a lot this year. It used to be that if Eli had one excellent skill, it was understanding/reading a Defense and finding the matchup/area to throw to. In 2018 that has gone to hell in a hand basket. The decisions are slower. The decisions are poorer. Much poorer. Yes, the OL has made his job difficult. But this season Eli Manning is just lost back there. Maybe he misses his TE outlet in Engram. He threw to a 3rd string TE twice and it was a disaster. He has had open receivers he either didn’t find or didn’t connect with. While every QB is allowed to miss finding an open WR, in the Giants case it is happening too often for it to be just the OL. Eli must bear some of the criticism.

It’s time to look at Lauletta more closely here in 2018 to see if the Giants hit Lau-Lotto. Activate him. Play him in Q4. And then start him assuming the season is mathematically over. I’m comfortable starting him this week but it may be that the coaches don’t think he’s ready. Get him ready. It starts w practice snaps.

Let’s look at the whole roster. Where do the Giants need to draft? Better yet, where do they NOT need to draft??!! …

LG

RB

WR(2)

TE

DT

LB(1)

SS

CB(2?)

So basically they need to draft another ~12 starters. Yes, they need 4 new Offensive Linemen. Is there anything more stark than seeing ALL the skill players (WR-WR-RB-TE) and chaos everywhere else?

I’m sure I will get some blowback for this- trade OBJ for some draft picks. The (lack of) architecture of this team demands it. And OBJ’s latest frustration means he’s not going to be the good citizen in a rebuild anyway. So you might as well get the OL directly or indirectly through him and rebuild the franchise around Barkley. Remember that when you get close to a title, Wide Receivers are always available on a 1-2 year loan.

In the 1970’s-early 1980’s a frustrated fan held up a sign: welcome to the 18th year of the Giants 5 yr rebuilding program. Today it is: welcome to the 7th year of ‘win now’ denial. The Reese gambit in 2016 where he blew out in Free Agency to sign Jenkins Vernon & Harrison while re-signing JPP was a mixed blessing. Jenkins and Harrison have been fixtures but JPP was given insane money and OV has been oft-injured. That talent injection led to the single season of success in the last 7 years. Unfortunately it also exposed how badly the Giants needed a reset. Assuming the Giants finish with another Top 4 draft pick, they need to DRAFT A QB OR TRADE DOWN. Stop trying to win immediately. Fans will show up for Barkley. Patiently build around him. It’s the Barkley Ultimatum. Spend a year or two retooling the roster and playing young players. It’s not happening every March like fans want it to happen. It’s going to take multiple April’s and time.

PHL 34 Barkley 13

The NY Giants are just a really poor football team. The OL is a sieve. Eli is aging rapidly. In this week’s installment without a Tight End, the Offense continued its ineptitude. The Giants racked up 15 consecutive failed 3rd down conversion attempts. That streak came to a merciful end when OBJ broke a tackle before the sticks. Not so uncoincidentally, a play later Barkley rumbled for a 50 yd TD. But it was too little too late.

The Giants keep finding new ways to dig deeper holes each week. They are 1-5. In those 5 losses, here are the halftime scores:

JAC 13 NYG 6

DAL 10 NYG 0

NO 12 NYG 7

CAR 20 NYG 13

PHL 24 NYG 6

The fiasco got off to a flying start with a turnover INT. Eli throws to a 3rd string TE who is just ill-equipped. The ball deflects and is picked, leading to a quick TD.

Solder gets beaten like a drum on a speed rush, and Eli is sacked (/fumble) at his 1 yd line. Great field position after poor punt coverage leads to another TD. A nice 14-3 hole blew up the game before it even started.

The defense got eaten alive. While the pass rush was augmented by Vernon’s return from injury, there were way too many stops that couldn’t be made. The Giants have a liability vs TEs and Ertz didn’t disappoint, collecting 7 receptions and a TD. The Eagles converted 9 third downs.

Saquon Barkley is a freak. He had that 50 yd TD run. He had a 55 yd monster screen catch and run that had Joe Buck gushing “incredibles.” His greatest play may have been the best 9 yd run I have ever seen. Ever. In my life. Barkley put up 229 yards from scrimmage. He was responsible for all 13 points scored.

But SB can’t block for himself, he can’t throw the ball, he can’t play Defense and he can’t stop the Specials transgressions. The architecture is all wrong in 2018. Too many skill players and not enough supporting players on both sides of the ball.

The Giants are 1-5. They were 1-5 last year. It’s a different ugliness. Eli’s days are over. The OL is just another nightmare. OBJ is back to his old childish self, frustrated and acting out on the sidelines. Not a good look. The season is over. Let’s get some starts for Lauletta. Rebuild.

CAR 33 NYG 31

I don’t have it in me to recap this game. It’s too f***ing painful. This game had everything. Classic Good Bad Ugly. But losing on a 63 yd FG? I’m just sick.

It’s 30 mins later. I’m off suicide watch, as I’m too busy vomiting. The Giants and I need an IV. Maybe I’ll post some more comments later but it’s like revisiting a nightmare. We’re Giants fans, not masochists. This was as tough a loss to take as anything in a few years. They fought back but … too many mistakes and bad officiating. So a 63 yard piece of luck. Special teams. Nauseous. 1-4. Vomit. Help.