Arena: OBJ Comeback Despite Giants Third Straight Loss
What do you get when you mix a 23 year old, NFL spotlight, and double coverage? Apparently a temper tantrum. Giants WR OBJ is facing scrutiny over his recent outburst that threaten to detract from the team's progress. After losing three straight games, the star WR is on fire, enveloping himself in a whirlwind of emotion. During the Redskins game, he hit the practice net with his helmet in frustration and began losing it mentally. Beckham's stunt on the sidelines made just about every headline in the sports world the next day, labeling him as nothing but a distraction. After an emotional breakdown that ended in tears, he proved to be losing his focus mentally, forcing Eli Manning to intervene. To add fuel to the fire, he once again attracted attention in the following game against the Vikings. In the 24-10 loss, OBJ initiated a fight with CB Xavier Rhodes. And, to really sum up the past two weeks of distress, he had possibly the worst game of his career. The Vikings defense shut him down as he finished the game with just three catches for 23 yards. By the second half, he lost all confidence and racked up unnecessary penalties. He was also fined $24,309 by the league for unsportsmanlike conduct after a spat between him and Rhodes continued during the game.
Adding to his frustrations, Beckham Jr. has been lagging behind on the scoring end. The Giants have arguably the best receiving core in the league this season, with OBJ at the head of the trio, but he barley touched the ball. In the past two seasons, OBJ had an impressive 25 TDs as Manning's top target. All of the stress is getting to him and in a post game interview with ESPN, he unleashed his built up emotions.
"Football is my sanctuary. It's where I go to escape. It's where I'm most happy. I'm not having fun anymore," Beckham Jr said. "What I'm communicating, we're not doing," he said. "I'm not getting the opportunities to contribute, and that's frustrating to me."
OBJ's teammates stand true to his persona as they encourage his fiery passion and denounce critics. However, Coach McAdoo is not pleased with this sideline antics.
"[Beckham] needs to control his emotions better and become less of a distraction to himself and to his teammates," McAdoo said. "It's our job to help him with that process and maturing."
As much as McAdoo thrived as the Giants offensive coordinator, his head coaching abilities are beginning to cause some concern. The Giants passing game continues to take a back seat with questionable play calling. Opening up the season with a strong 2-0 lead, it seemed like the team was finally making a comeback. With all of the talent on the offensive side of the ball, one has to question why McAdoo is not utilizing his dangerous trio. We rarely saw the deep ball to OBJ and the talents of Victor Cruz and Sterling Shepard remain untapped as well. After 13 years as the face of the Giants, we all know that Manning is capable of throwing the deep ball and his greatest strength has always been his accuracy. So why isn't he hitting his top targets?
Beckham Jr. is bouncing back despite his lack of opportunities. He ended the game last night with his first TD of the season and even a satirical nod to the media. Last week, videos were blowing up of OBJ hitting the net in frustration. Yesterday, he commented on the media driven tension when he hugged the net on the sidelines, getting a rise out of the fan base. His mood seemed much lighter with a litter reminder to "just smile" written on his gloves.
Despite that glimmer of relief from the concern about OBJ, there is still some major problems facing the Giants. After dumping over $200 million in the offseason, the defense is not living up to the hype. Dear Olivier Vernon, the Giants gave you a $85 million dollar deal. Where is the pass rush? They have to yet to put pressure on the QB as evidenced last night with Aaron Rodgers taking his sweet time to hit the open man. We can acknowledge that last year, the defense was detrimental to the team's effort, exposing coverage deficiencies and squandering in disorganized chaos. However, although the Giants defensive lineup is talented, they are still lacking that overall toughness that looked so good on paper. The offense is lacking too with a weak O-line that is not protecting Manning. The aging QB is losing his accuracy and proving to have an ineffective passing game. But I get. All of these outside factors cannot hide the immature behaviors of the Giants' star WR. No one wants to hear excuses about OBJ's temper tantrums. It is no longer justified to say that he's still a young kid and he's getting there. I am not one to condone it, but the bottom line is that the ball needs to get to OBJ before his high profile career with the Giants starts dwindling away before we know it.