There are days when you wake up, smell the paycheck and say what your franchise expects a $95 Million Man to say. You forget that your team has no chance now to run the table and make the playoffs, forget that you haven’t won a playoff game in your five NFL seasons, forget that you wished the game plan was bolder last Sunday against a depleted Eagles secondary, forget that you won’t get to catch missiles from Patrick Mahomes … this apparently was one of those days for Odell Beckham Jr.
The Giants are rebuilding — no longer a Win Now team, and won’t be in 2019 — need themselves their own Mahomes, their own Sam Darnold, and so I asked Beckham what he clings to for hope that this organization can turn things around and become a winner.
“God,” was his immediate response, before the question was completed.
The problem is, God is not a New York football fan at the moment.
“This is a winning organization,” Beckham said, “They’ve won in the past, so just gotta trust the process and at some point in time the goal is to obviously hang a banner and raise that trophy, so all you could do is just be optimistic and keep pushing forward and get better.”
Never mind that Beckham was a freshman at LSU when Eli Manning won Super XLVI. If the Giants lose Sunday to the Bears, it will mark Beckham’s fourth losing season with the Giants, under three different head coaches.
“I wanted to win all eight [of the Giants’ remaining games, before last week’s loss],” Beckham said. “That’s not what happened, but there’s no giving up, there’s no quit, not from me or anybody in here. Just gotta win these last whatever games, see what happens.”
His numbers — 74 catches, 1,017 yards, five TDs — disappoint him.
“I just don’t feel like I’ve done as much as I can,” Beckham said.
“Each year I come in, 1,000 yards is a minimum. My season starts after 1,000 yards. I’m trying to see how many yards I get after 1,000. Ten touchdowns minimum, that’s just a goal. This year I came in with the mindset of being efficient, like when I was in college and making plays … just being effective and efficient.
“It’s not been a down year, my numbers are still my numbers, but I guess that’s where my mindset is different than everybody else. I expect way higher of myself, I’m trying to reach 2,000 yards, I’m trying to go for 20 touchdowns. One hundred receptions is tatted on me. Those are goals that hopefully in my career and my future — along with championships, winning, ’cause numbers really don’t mean anything without winning.
“You can go home with 300 yards in a game with an L, it’s not gonna feel good. It’s really all about winning and I just feel like I could have had a better year so far, but this is where I’m at. Just gotta deal with that and just keep pushing to keep getting better day by day, work on your craft, that’s all I can really do.”
Manning is 62 for 86 with six touchdowns and one egregious interception over his past three games. Too little too late.
“I think we just started to put it all together,” Beckham said. “Unfortunately it was during the time that it was. It was a little later in the season, but we are putting it together now. So there’s definitely something there, just gotta continue to grow it, develop it.”
Time is running out on Beckham growing it, developing it with Manning.
“We’ve been putting it together lately — besides the last game — and that’s definitely something to look forward to,” Beckham said.
Something more immediate to look forward to is his matchup with ex-Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara.
“I haven’t really got a chance to go against any former teammates, but I love Prince,” Beckham said. “Prince was like a brother when he was here. Honestly, I can say I love Prince, that’s like my guy [chuckle]. I have to try and stay focused while I’m in the game with him lined up across from me. He’s always been a good corner, but it’s just Prince, like I don’t how to explain it. It’s Prince, and he’s there and he’s just a goofy guy, so I’m gonna have to snap that early in the game and just be able to compete against him, and I know he’s excited as well, so it should be fun.”
Asked if Amukamara’s goofiness might be an advantage for him, Beckham smiled and said: “I guess it is. It’s a tactic. I’m just gonna have to just rid that early in the game and just be able to compete and have fun.”
Except Monster of the Midway Khalil Mack will put added pressure on Beckham to help Manning.
“Get open fast,” Beckham said. “He’s as advertised. He was worth every penny (six years, $141 million) and he’s a force — run, pass, sitting on the bench — he’s a problem wherever he’s at.”
On a Glass-Half-Blue day, Beckham sounded more like Bill Belichick when someone asked him about talking with Manning about the ill-fated Eagles game plan when he said: “We’re all on to Chicago. Any questions about anything yesterday, or two weeks ago, or a year ago, I’m here to talk about Chicago.”
He’s had his fill of Glass Half Empty.