Are New York Giants offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo and quarterback Eli Manning forgetting about getting the ball to their best play maker, Odell Beckham Jr., late in games? If you think Beckham has done more damage early in games than he has late thus far in 2015, you would be right.
Beckham has been targeted 60 times this season, with 41 of those (68.3 percent) coming in the first half. Of Beckham's 38 receptions, 27 have come in the first half of games. Beckham was only targeted once in the second half Monday night against the Philadelphia Eagles.The only game this season in which Beckham had more second-half than first-half targets was the season opener against the Dallas Cowboys, when six of his eight targets came in the final two quarters.
What the heck is going on here?
Manning said "I haven't noticed" when asked this week about the disparity in Beckham's production from the first half to the second half.
"I don't think it's the theme of our offense, "Hey, how many times can we get ball to Odell?" It's about finding completions and going where the defense is telling us and moving the ball," Manning said. "So whether he has a catch -- if we're moving the ball and scoring points and getting touchdowns. There are some things we want to try and get him the ball. We might put him in a spot where we think he might get the ball, but if it's not there or they're playing a different coverage or stuff happens, I'm going through my progressions and we've got a lot of guys who can make plays for us."
Manning also sounded very much like a quarterback who isn't going to throw the ball to Beckham when he's double-covered just because he's Beckham.
"I don't think that's a smart decision, so no," Manning said. "We've got other guys who have to win and just read the coverages and make good decisions and go where the defense is telling you to go with the ball."
Beckham tried to sidestep the whole topic while talking to reporters on Thursday.
Should the ball come his way more despite the double coverage?
"The only thing I can do is just try and get open the best I can, be where you're supposed to be at the right time," Beckham said.
Does he expect to get the ball more in the second half going forward?
"I don't know, I don't call the plays, I'm not the coach," Beckham said. "We run the plays that we run and we execute them the best that we can. So like I said, we need to execute better."
Manning added that there are times when it's "going to happen" that defenses take Beckham away from the Giants.
"Teams are going to have plays during the game when they're going to double-team him and try to take him away and that's fine. You've got to move him around, don't make it easy for them," Manning said. "But other guys have to make plays. You've got to find the guys that have the single coverage and those guys have got to win for us. So it's not a situation where you try to get a receiver to beat double-coverage all the time. It's playing your reads and going to where the defense is telling you to go."
Understandable, of course, but it also sounds an awful lot like the Giants are allowing defenses to dictate to them that -- when it matters most -- they have to try to win games without getting the ball to their best player.
McAdoo said at the end of last season that one thing he had learned is that running an offense is about players, not plays. Meaning, you have to find a way to get the ball to your best play makers when you need a play. He and Manning need to heed that lesson, and figure out how to get Beckham involved in the second halves of games.