Odell Beckham Jr. regularly has described his distaste for losing. Apparently, he has found something worse: losing without getting a chance to help the team win.
The lightning-rod wide receiver told ESPN on Tuesday that he is “not having fun anymore” and that football, which is usually his “sanctuary” and where he is “most happy,” has become, essentially, a drag. This after Monday night’s loss to the Vikings, in which he was not targeted with a pass until midway through the second quarter, caught only three passes for 23 yards (both career lows), and was flagged for taunting after being hit out of bounds and retaliating in a way that likely would not have drawn a penalty on anyone else.
After the game he railed against officials and the NFL, saying they were all against him. On Tuesday, he turned his ire to his team and the offense.
“What I’m communicating, we’re not doing,” he told ESPN. “I’m not getting opportunities to contribute, and that’s frustrating to me.”
Ben McAdoo, of course, was peppered with questions about his star during a Tuesday conference call. He directed most of those queries back to the offense itself and his desire to eliminate penalties overall. In the last two games, the Giants have been flagged 19 times for 192 yards.
McAdoo said Eli Manning has to be smart with his decisions and not force passes into bad situations such as the double-coverages Beckham routinely sees. McAdoo did, however, say that as a play-caller, it is his responsibility to make sure a playmaker such as Beckham gets enough chances to touch the ball.
“We have to keep him in our thoughts,” McAdoo said. “He’s one heck of a football player who wants the football.”
McAdoo said he and Beckham speak multiple times a day, but he said the content of those talks will remain private. Beckham also had a long conversation with general manager Jerry Reese in the locker room after Monday’s game. That talk took place out of earshot of reporters who were in the room.
McAdoo did defend Beckham for the taunting penalty. Somewhat. He said he thought there was contact out of bounds from Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes.
“I thought it was going to be offsetting,” McAdoo said. “They called it one way.”
Unlike last week, when Beckham had a tantrum on the sideline that included an altercation with a kicking net, McAdoo firmly said Monday’s penalty was “not a distraction.” He called it “two competitive players trying to play the game.” He did, however, point out that the penalty was damaging.
“One 15-yard penalty in a close game can be enough to cost you the game,” he said.
McAdoo said he has not been part of any conversations with the NFL over how Beckham is officiated. It is unclear if anyone in the Giants front office has.
As for Beckham having more “fun,” McAdoo said he has a simple way to fix that: a little vitamin W.
“When we execute better and spread the ball around and everyone gets opportunities, then everyone is going to have more fun,” he said. “Listen, right now we’re sixth in the league in offense [and 27th in scoring] and not executing anywhere near where we could be executing.”
Until they get to the point where they are, the Giants will continue to be a no fun zone.