Another game, another loss for the New York Giants and another meltdown from wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. – who needs to do some seriousgrowing up if he’s going to spearhead his team to the playoffs. He need look no further than across town to find his role model for how to handle tough situations.
That possible mentor is none other than Brandon Marshall, the New York Jets wide receiver who was once himself considered a head case.
Look up Marshall’s rap sheet around the NFL at his previous stops in Denver, Miami and Chicago and he was tagged with essentially every negative label out there. He was no doubt a talented player, a perennial Pro Bowl selection and one of the most dynamic downfield targets in the league. But he was also seen as a distraction off the field and has been traded three times, a rarity for such a uniquely gifted player.
Locker room cancer. Malcontent. Liability. All terms used to describe Marshall at his previous stops. But here with the Jets he’s been nothing short of magnanimous, even with the offense struggling and the Jets off to a 1-3 start.
That’s because Marshall has learned that it isn’t about him, that it is about the team. And despite the Jets rocky start or the fact that quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has thrown roughly a zillion interceptions (give or take) the past two games, that crying and throwing a tantrum won’t get him anywhere.
Rolling up his sleeves and getting to work is the answer.
Consider his comments following the Jets loss this past weekend to the Seattle Seahawks. Marshall didn’t lash out, he didn’t criticize and he didn’t blame others let alone his opponent or the referees. He talked about turning things around, about the hope he had in this team and this offense. He showed support for his quarterback who has been struggling in recent weeks.
And most of all he didn’t take it out on a poor, innocent kicking net.
For Beckham, the constant whining on the field and to anyone who will listen about how he is being targeted on the field and that cornerbacks are getting away with murder is just insulting. He’s a grown man and perhaps an offseason spent improving and maturing rather than getting chummy with rappers or shooting a music video about coffee would have been the better choice.
Something that Marshall full well knows, having worked out with Jets backup quarterback Geno Smith and teammates this offseason. Perhaps Beckham could have spent less time having a pillow fight with Drake and more time working on his routes.
Let alone dating a Kardashian.
Marshall earned his ticket out of three NFL towns for a reputation – whether right or wrong – as being difficult to coach. But he has learned to cope with Borderline Personality Disorder and thrive as a player and a teammate on the Jets. The Giants have to hope that the public criticism of Beckham by the coaching staff and quarterback Eli Manning on Monday night will finally wake him up.
There is no physically more talented wide receiver in the league right now than Beckham, he is simply at another level. There is also no player who is more of a liability than the Giants No. 13 with his mood swings able to sink the Giants postseason hopes.