Eli Manning had the chance to call out his petulant teammate Odell Beckham Jr. on Monday following the aftermath of the New York Giants 38-13 Wild Card loss at the Green Bay Packers. Manning’s lack of harsh words for his star wide receiver were as absent as Beckham was in the game.
Five days after Beckham and several of his wide receivers took a flight down to Florida to party on a boat before coming back to New Jersey to start their playoff preparations, the Giants Pro Bowl wide receiver had just four catches for 28 yards on 11 targets. It was a staggeringly bad performance from Beckham, making his playoff debut, perhaps signaling that he left his skills on Justin Bieber’s boat.
But on Monday, a day after Manning had a solid game but Beckham was absent, the Giants quarterback wouldn’t lash at out his temperamental teammate.
“I don’t have concerns. I think Odell is passionate. He’s passionate and he wants to win. This was important for him. He wanted to go out there and have the best game of his career. Maybe he put too much pressure on himself and emphasis. Unfortunately, going to the playoffs is different,” Manning said.
“It’s different for everyone. We didn’t have a lot of people that have been to the playoffs. You hate to say that it’s a learning experience for a group. I hate to say that when I’m in my thirteenth year, but sometimes guys just have to go through it and see what it’s like. Understand that they can’t make it bigger than what it is. You have to have a calm mindset and just go out there and play football. Be relaxed and bring out your best. Don’t try to play your best, you just have to trust the training and just go do it. I think Odell is going to be fine. He’s learning every year and this is another learning experience for him.”
Reports after the game said that Beckham put his fist through the wall, showing frustration for the loss and his own personal showing – or lack thereof. Perhaps Beckham shouldn’t have punched that ticket to Florida earlier in the week, but that is neither here nor there.
Of course,if Beckham comes out and sizzles in the frozen tundra, his trip to Florida isn’t a talking point. But now it is because he showed up to party, just not to play.
“You just have to learn the perception of things makes it different. If you do things, you have to back it up. I don’t think it had an impact on the game. I thought we had a great week of practice,” Manning said. “Guys were making plays and running around. It was intense, focused and everything good. Unfortunately, we just didn’t have it yesterday.”