Published 1:04 PM EDT Oct 7, 2018
Is Eli Manning the reason for the New York Giants' offensive struggles?
"I don't know," said Giants all-pro wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. in an interview with ESPN's Josina Anderson and rapper Lil Wayne. "Can (Eli) still throw it, yeah, but it's been pretty safe and it's been, you know ... cool catching shallow (routes) and trying to take it to the house. But I'm, you know, I want to go over the top of somebody."
Beckham made headlines earlier this week when part of the interview with Anderson was released. Criticizing his teammates, Beckham said the Giants' 1-3 start was due to a lack of energy and heart.
“A lot of it has to do with the energy that we don't have, that we don't bring every single day,” Beckham said. “And you know me. I'm a passionate, energetic person. I always have to have that. If I don't, it's going be a problem for me."
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The three-time Pro Bowl receiver slightly hedged his criticism, pointing out that when the Giants went 11-5 in 2016 they began the season 2-3.
"So you never know when you can go on a run. But it's just a matter of when we’re going to go on a run."
Beckham's frustrations stem from the Giants' downfield passing woes. Through the first four games, Beckham has caught 31 passes for 331 yards and zero touchdowns. His 10.7 yards per catch this season is a career low, and Manning has missed on multiple throws when Beckham was open deep.
“How come we can't throw the ball for more than 20 yards?” asked Beckham. “How come we don't attempt or try to throw the ball for more than 20 yards? Those are questions that we have to figure out, but for now I would say it's our heart, it's our energy."
According to ESPN, Manning is just 3-12 when throwing 20-or-more yards downfield so far this season, 2-5 when targeting Beckham. Both completions came in a Week 1 loss to the Jaguars.
Now in his fifth year and in the first season of a new five-year extension worth up to $95 million, Beckham refused to acknowledge he's happy with the Giants.
"It's like I want to be here, like I've been waiting to get here this whole time. I feel like a caged animal who gets this -- it's my 60 minutes of playtime. You know, I can play with other people. We can play nice, or we don't have to play nice. But I get to play, and I get to do all this. This is my time to be out of the cage. You know, if somebody's messing with me during my time to be out of the cage, like, it's going to be a problem."