The New York Giants are 0-3. It’s a place no one thought they would be at the beginning of the season, but one they have done everything to earn. They are winless not because rookie Jake Elliott was lucky to kick a 61-yard field goal on Sunday, but because the Giants put him in position to have that chance. Just like they earned their first two defeats.
Here are some thoughts on where the Giants are. Sadly, we start in a place I know I wish I didn’t have to go.
The Unfortunate Odell Beckham Sideshow
Asked on Monday for his reaction to Odell Beckham Jr. pretending to pee like a dog as a touchdown celebration Sunday in Philadelphia, Giants coach Ben McAdoo said “we should be talking about the way he played.”
That, truly, is the unfortunate thing about Beckham his continued pattern questionable decisions and antics. It forces us to talk about them rather than talk his on-field brilliance.
- In 2015, Beckham earns a suspension after drawing three 15-yard penalties — including launching himself helmet-first at Norman’s head.
There were a bunch of odd incidents last season.
- During a sideline meltdown in a loss to the Washington Redskins, Beckham swings his helmet at a kicking net, which topples over and hits him.
- During a game later in the season, Beckham kneels and “proposes” to the kicking net.
- Before last season’s playoff game against the Green Bay Packers, Beckham spearheads a highly-publicized trip to Miami that included spending time hanging out on a boat.
- After losing to the Packers and playing poorly, Beckham has another meltdown and punches a hole in a Lambeau Field wall.
No one wants to write about these things. No football writer ever thought he or she would have to write about a player lifting his leg and pretending to mark his spot like a dog. Beckham, though, continues to force us to write about things other than his generational talent.
That is unfortunate.
McAdoo’s Weak Response
McAdoo would not address Beckham’s lack of remorse or the question of whether or not his display on Sunday was embarrassing to the organization.
“It’s real simple, I don’t want to kick off from the 20-yard line. It doesn’t help our team. It makes it tough on the players who are covering kicks and makes an impact on field position,” is all the coach said.
This is also real simple. That’s not good enough. Part of the reason Tom Coughlin lost his job was because he eventually put trying to win ahead of trying to control Beckham and the way he represented himself and the Giants organization.
I am not saying his response will cost McAdoo his job — don’t go there and don’t think that is what this is about. It’s not. Maybe McAdoo addressed the issue privately with Beckham. I hope he did. As the public face of the organization, though, I would have liked to see McAdoo give a stronger public response than “I don’t want to kick off from the 20-yard line.”
How about, at the least, saying something like “that’s not how we want our players to represent the New York Giants.”
Whither The Defense?
The Giants won games last season almost entirely because of their defensive dominance. That’s not happening this year. Please don’t even try to tell me that is because middle linebacker B.J. Goodson is out with an injury, or because Johnathan Hankins is in Indianapolis. Kelvin Sheppard, who is out of the league, was the middle linebacker a year ago. As for defensive tackle, Dalvin Tomlinson and Jay Bromley are just fine.
The Giants are not tackling well. They are 26th in the league in third-down defense and 24th in rushing yards allowed per play. The Giants are middle of the pack in yards allowed per game. Players are talking about gap discipline, meaning that perhaps players are trying to do too much. Teams are targeting Eli Apple when they want a big play — and getting it. Darian Thompson isn’t distinguishing himself, either.
The Giants made it an offseason priority to keep as much of last year’s defense together as possible. To this point, though, they aren’t getting anything close to last year’s results.
It is early in the season, but it is worthwhile for Giants fans to take note of what is going on with the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars, with Coughlin making personnel decisions and former Giants offensive line coach Pat Flaherty in charge of a group that has surrendered only two sacks, are 2-1. They are fourth in the league in points per game, ninth in time of possession and fifth in rushing yards per game while employing a smash-mouth offense that has to make Giants fans envious. Meanwhile, the Giants can’t gain an inch on the ground when they need it and can’t keep Eli Manning upright unless he releases the ball faster than any quarterback in the league.
The Jaguars left tackle is rookie Cam Robinson. The Giants passed on Robinson for Evan Engram at No. 23, which I believe was the right call. Still, with Robinson on the board at the top of the second round perhaps a Landon Collins-esque move up the board to get him would have been a good idea. More than any other issue, not doing a single substantive thing to improve the sub-par offensive line has been — and will continue to be — the Giants’ biggest issue.
A Catch Rule Solution
On Monday we looked at the Sterling Shepard catch/non-catch that was — correctly ruled incomplete and ended up costing the Giants points in Sunday’s game. My problem with the rule is simple — something that happens five yards and several steps out of bounds should have nothing to do with the result of the play. It is, after all, out of bounds.
My solution? Simple. Two feet down with possession of the ball “in bounds” is a catch. Period. Anything that happens out of bounds should be irrelevant. You can’t gain possession out of bounds and have a play ruled a catch. Why should a play be ruled incomplete because a player lost the ball when he was off the field?