New York Giants coach Pat Shurmur is in charge of a bad team and a generally unproductive offense. The last thing he needs is a grumpy playmaker who bad-mouths teammates, but that’s exactly what he has in Odell Beckham Jr.
Still, Shurmur might want to reconsider imploring the media: “Let’s talk football, not drama.”
Because the way things are going for the Giants at the moment, it actually might be better for him if the focus remains on the off-field stuff.
Yet another loss on Sunday, 33-31 at the Carolina Panthers, dropped the Giants to 1-4. No one in the NFL has a worse record, and next up comes a game against the NFC East rival Philadelphia Eagles, who are the reigning Super Bowl champions, even if they’re only 2-3 themselves.
The cause of all the fuss in the locker room in New York?
An interview with ESPN in which Beckham managed to steamroll first-year coach Shurmur and quarterback Eli Manning.
OBJ complained about New York’s lack of big plays: “How come we don’t attempt or try to throw the ball for more than 20 yards?” He criticized the team’s heart and energy. Asked whether there were an issue at QB — an obvious chance to stand up for the much-criticized Manning — Beckham offered up a reply of, “I don’t know.”
Give him points for honesty, at least. But not for leadership or maturity.
“I addressed it with Odell. I addressed it with our team. I publicly declared that I didn’t agree with his comments,” Shurmur said.
Then he threw in a Shakespeare reference, saying: “I’m not going to give the public a pound of flesh on this. That would make me small, not strong.”
Moments later, Shurmur sent the reporters to go talk to Beckham himself.
Anyone expecting a mea culpa was out of luck, because the receiver with the new $65 million in guaranteed contract money said he didn’t regret a thing.
Sure, he played well Sunday, with eight catches for 131 yards and a TD, plus a 57-yard touchdown pass to Saquon Barkley. But he also was standing right there on the sideline while teammate Sterling Shepard threw a Beckhamesque tantrum filled with punches and a tossed trash can. Beckham’s attitude rubbing off on teammates, maybe? That is not a good look for him — or for his coach.
In case you missed it, here are other top topics after the NFL season’s fifth Sunday:
WAY TO GO, ROOK
A week after they went a combined 0-4, the four rookie QB starters went 4-0; there hadn’t been four rookie quarterbacks with W’s in the same week since Week 16 of the 2012 season (Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck, Ryan Tannehill, Russell Wilson). Wasn’t always pretty this time. Baker Mayfield was 25 for 43 for 342 yards, a TD and an INT as Cleveland got past Baltimore 12-9 in OT; Josh Allen went 10 for 19 for 82 yards and a pick and ran for a score as Buffalo edged Tennessee 13-12; Sam Darnold was 10 for 22 for 198 yards with three TDs and one INT in the Jets’ 34-16 victory over Denver; Josh Rosen was 10 of 25 for 170 yards and a TD to help Arizona top San Francisco 28-16.
CAN I KICK IT?
On a day that Carolina’s Graham Gano hit a 63-yard field goal to win a game, Green Bay’s Mason Crosby was about as poor as a placekicker can be, missing five kicks — four field-goal tries and an extra point — in the Packers’ 31-23 loss indoors at Detroit. So no wind. No chill. No precipitation. No nothing. And yet Crosby failed to connect from 38, 41, 42 and 56 yards on field-goal tries, plus a PAT that was no good. For those keeping score at home, that’s a total of 13 points left on the table in a game his team lost by eight. “Just couldn’t find the lines today,” Crosby said. “Kept adjusting, and it wasn’t going in.”
BIG MAN TD!
Linval Joseph, Minnesota’s 329-pound defensive lineman, earned himself a little extra oxygen by rumbling 64 yards for a touchdown after Philadelphia QB Carson Wentz coughed up the ball during the second quarter of the Vikings’ 23-21 victory over the Eagles in a rematch of last season’s NFC championship game. After his score, Joseph plopped himself down on the bench, threw on some shades and put a mask on so he could suck air.
AP Sports Writer Steve Reed in Charlotte, N.C., and AP Pro Football Writer Josh Dubow in Santa Clara, Calif., contributed to this report.
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