Odell Beckham Jr. isn’t the face of the New York Giants any more, a role and mantle that is now being assumed by the quiet, steady leadership of Landon Collins. In being named to the Pro Bowl roster last night, it is clear that the Giants are now Collins’ team.
He, in every way, embodies what this organization’s future should be.
While there is no denying that Beckham is an elite athlete and has the potential to be a truly special wide receiver, the foundation of the Giants moving forward must be Collins. This year on a bad Giants team, Collins has not only produced at a Pro Bowl level, he has done so while showing class and leadership.
He’s played hurt and through pain, something that a star on a 2-12 team might not subject himself to as the season whimpers to a conclusion. Collins has also shown a steady, calming demeanor, this despite the firing of the head coach and general manager who drafted him. Through the losses and the mounting criticism of this team, Collins has continued to produce and piece together what might be his finest season in the NFL.
A fact that especially sticks out given just how banged up he has been and how truly awful the Giants defense has been this season.
And the offense. And the special teams. And the coaching. But that is another column, another day.
In Collins, the Giants have something to build around. A player with a strong, unquestioned work ethic, who isn’t plagued by the concerns of say a Beckham.
There isn’t a character blemish here, no fights with kicking nets, no dog urinating celebrations or fists that have gone through the dry wall of the locker room in Green Bay. No off the field distractions, no parties on the cusp of the playoffs.
Instead, Collins is simply there, being who he is. Producing and playing, fighting through pain and leaving it all out there on the field. A consummate example to his teammates of how to play and conduct one’s self.
For a Giants organization that has always held itself to a high standard in terms of character, the tradition lives on in Collins.
While Beckham might be the flash and sizzle, Collins is the substance. That isn’t to say that Beckham isn’t a cornerstone of where this franchise can be next year and moving forward, but it simply acknowledges that the Giants petulant wide receiver must mature and grow if he is to be anything more than a walking highlight reel.
In Beckham, there are great moments and great plays but an equal level of frustration over his antics and attitude. There aren’t the same concerns over Collins.
Collins is the steady and dependable star that franchise’s needs as they head into a period of rebuilding. This Pro Bowl selection, his second in what is now his third year in the league, is a testament to a player who has done all the right things to this point and continues to mature and refine his game.
Now it is up to the Giants this offseason to do the right thing for their star safety and make him the priority move of free agency. There is no reason why re-signing Collins shouldn’t be the single biggest driving force of the Giants offseason plans and goals, even ahead of inking Beckham to a long-term deal.
He is a sure-thing, a solid foundation. A building block.
In every meaning of the word, Collins has been faithful to his team and his teammates during this most difficult of years. He is one of the few stars in this league who truly puts the professional into the Pro Bowl selection process.
He is the Giants future.