E. Windell Jackson II
Who is Odell Beckham Jr?
Battling back from a season ending injury Odell Beckham Jr had to have thought this would be the New York Football Giants year. With new found protection in the offensive line for Eli Manning in former New England Patriot Nate Solder as well as a much-needed weapon in rookie running back Saquon Barkley. Odell just knew this would be the year they got back to the NFL playoffs and proved everyone wrong.
You could see it in the off-season when it came to Odell getting a new deal. He didn’t do like most superstars and use contract negotiations to prolong his summer vacation i.e. a certain running back in Pittsburgh. No, he came to voluntary mini camps and then showed up to training camp. He worked on his game as well as his body and allowed his agent and the team do the negotiating.
That was a new look for Odell. By his previous actions he could be viewed as a selfish diva who can’t control his emotions. One who put pride before team. If you were a savvy cornerback all you had to do was say the right thing like question his manhood and the Odell volcano would erupt. No one was safe especially sideline equipment.
Fast forward to Odell is now the NFL’s highest paid wide receiver with a massive 5-year $95 million-dollar deal with $65 million guaranteed. Money is power and per Uncle Ben of Spider-Man fame “with great power comes great responsibility”. On the surface Odell looked ready to take on the responsibility of leader for this new look Giants team.
Then there was the interview with ESPN’s Josina Anderson. (The relevance of Lil' Wayne being there is still beyond me other than he just dropped “The Carter V” and is on a promotional run). There is something to be said about the journalist at ESPN getting the drop on everybody and being the first on the scene with “last minute” exclusive interviews.
It just so happened that the Giants were off to a dismal 1-3 start to the 2018 season. Not quite what Odell and the rest of the locker room anticipated. At this point Eli had thrown for 1,055 yards with 6 TDs, 4 INTs and 2 fumbles lost. Odell had 45 catches for 506 yards and 0 TDs.
The casual fan can look at those numbers and say to him or herself “looks like Eli will throw for 4,000 yards and Odell will catch 90 balls for 1,000 plus yards” not a bad year for either. So, what gives the 1-3 start at that time? According to Odell in the interview with Josina and I quote “the energy wasn’t right”.
He went on to question out loud if he thought Eli still had it. He’s wondering out loud if the Giants should make a change at quarterback. He doesn’t understand “why we can’t throw the ball more than 20 yards down the field?” He wants his teammates to have more heart and bring more energy. He wants the energy he had in college when they hung out after practice and ate pizza and played Madden.
This is the Odell that me along with other fans of the NFL thought was gone for good. No, he couldn’t help himself, he had to get behind the wheel of that bus and commence to run over his quarterback as well as his other teammates, and coaching staff alike.
We fast forward again to week 5, the Giants lose a close game against the Carolina Panthers. The Giants play better, Eli throws for 326 with 2 TDs and 2 INTs. Odell catches 8 balls with 131 yards and his 1st TD of the year. He also threw a 57-yard TD pass to rookie Saquon Barkley.
They played their best game of the year and in the end lost a heart breaker when Graham Gano bombed a 63-yard field goal to end the game and any hopes for the Giants season.
Instead of being a leader and picking the team up, what does Odell do week 6? He struggles against a mediocre Philadelphia Eagles secondary and walks off the field and into the locker before the first half was over, leaving his teammates to battle without him. He claimed he was cramping and needed an IV. So why torment the sideline equipment and not the Eagles corners?
I have no idea who Odell Beckham Jr is and I’m not sure if he knows at this point. I do know what Odell Beckham Jr is, he is “the catch”, he is a superstar, a once in a generation franchise player. Much like a LeBron James, he is someone an organization better do whatever it takes to surround him with the best chance to win. If not, they will be watching Odell lead a championship parade for another team while collecting their pink slips.
At the same time he has to check his emotions and continue to play at a high level. He must become the consummate pro and lead this team to wins. Other wise he might as well change his name to El Trece and go join Dancing with the Stars.
Is he frustrated? Yes, Odell has the right to be frustrated. The New York Giants organization can’t see past the past (2 championships with Eli) and into the future. The future is Odell (along with Saquon) and the past is Eli. Once the organization understands this and moves on we will be able to find out who Odell Beckham Jr really is.