Jon Gruden appeared on Mike & Mike this morning, where the talk is still about Odell Beckham. (My son got up with me and watched ESPN this morning and said “are we still really talking about Odell Beckham? This is like Deflategate.” He’s not wrong.)
This tweet, sent from the show account, got most of the attention from Gruden’s appearance.
That’s actually a very abbreviated paraphrase of what Gruden said in the appearance. That prompted plenty of discussion of wide receiver wins, playoff appearances, and the Giants’ defense the last few years. For example, if you look at the top 30 wide receivers of all-time in receiving yards, 17 did not reach the playoffs in their first two seasons, and 13 did not in their first three years. Among modern players in the 16-game/wildcard era, that’s led by Brandon Marshall (none yet), Andre Johnson (9th year), Steve Largent (8th year), Anquan Boldin (6th year), and Isaac Bruce (6th year).
But Gruden actually said so much more than the stats/wins screed. Here are some of his comments:
“He’s not playing great football. He’s got no touchdowns. Zero.
He quit on a route that the ball was intercepted on. I don’t want to see anymore one-handed catches, honestly. He’s not playing up to his standards. You know, how much are you gonna tolerate? I think that’s the question that Ben McAdoo, the coach of the Giants is faced with.
Like I said, he’s dropping passes. I’ve taken guys out of the game for that. I think that’s what needs to be done. Sit him down for awhile. I know he’s a great player. But I’ve taken guys down for dropping passes, lining up wrong, missing an audible, blowing an assignment, committing penalties, not being reliable.
We can’t quibble on this: Odell Beckham has not put up the same numbers–through just 4 games–that he has averaged recently. He is credited with 3 drops on this site so far this year; by his own lofty standards, that is not good since he had 7 in the last two seasons combined. (On the other hand, no one’s advocating benching DeMaryius Thomas, Marvin Jones, Jordan Matthews, or Will Fuller based on a couple of drops).
The interception is in the eye of the beholder, and Beckham is getting no benefit from Gruden. There was contact downfield by Xavier Rhodes with the ball in the air, Beckham was re-routed, and appeared to me to be trying to locate the ball. He wasn’t going to stop that interception after the contact, and tried to make the tackle.
As for the one-handed catch thing– oh brother. Beckham’s not making unnecessary one-handed catches in games. He is making fabulous plays that are helping the team. He almost made one against the Vikings, on a play where the wily veteran Terrance Newman got his arm in to bar Beckham’s other arm, and Beckham tried a diving one-handed catch unsuccessfully.
Beckham is emotional. He needs to do a little better job of channeling that (and yes, it’s part of what makes him successful, too.) But that observation doesn’t populate a 24-hour news network. He’s also not the main reason why the Giants lost the last two games, far from it. He’s said in the past regarding a one-handed catch that it didn’t matter because the Giants lost. He took the blame for not clearly making the play on a controversial call against the Patriots.
He wants to win. He may not always deal with things the best way, but give me Odell Beckham any day, and twice on Sundays.