So last week Odell Beckham Jr. protected the details of his “private discussion” with Giants co-owner John Mara when the topic was Beckham pretending to pee like a dog in public.
But on Wednesday, Beckham decided it was OK to share that after Sunday’s loss in Tampa, Buccaneers DB Vernon Hargreaves told him that “we know a lot of what (the Giants) are doing” on offense.
No surprise it was in answer to a question about Beckham’s five drops in three games. Way to throw Ben McAdoo under the bus.
And yet Beckham isn’t the only story here; such a level of predictability to McAdoo’s offense is alarming, even if it’s not new.
In Week 5 last season Victor Cruz said the Giants couldn’t beat a simple Cover-2 defensive scheme; they almost exclusively ran a three-wide receiver set. In Week 1 this season Sterling Shepard said the Cowboys had played a lot more zone than what the Giants had expected in a 19-3 season-opening loss.
The offense is McAdoo’s baby, in his fourth year at the reins including two years as offensive coordinator, and if opposing players are saying they know what the Giants are doing, that is a terrible indictment of the coach.
It is also a bad reflection on McAdoo’s grasp on the team when Beckham is stepping out on Wednesday relaying a personal conversation he had with McAdoo in which he said opposing defensive backs told him “we know you’re running a certain route.”
Beckham had a lot of excuses for dropping passes, of course. He pointed to the predictability of his routes, which led to Beckham “putting extra onto a route to try and create more space.” He blamed his “soaking wet” gloves for one drop in Tampa, and he even fingered McAdoo’s hurry-up offense for not being able to change out of the gloves for that play.
McAdoo’s hurry-up does lend itself to increased predictability even from the original scheme that defenses appear to have pegged, as evidenced by Eli Manning’s second interception in Philadelphia in Week 3.
It was a bad throw that Manning shouldn’t have made, with one Giants receiver to five Eagles defenders in the vicinity. But when Manning is limited to making only quick, short throws — often to receivers running slant routes — the opposing defense catches on. And you could see the Eagles jumping those routes leading up to linebacker Mychal Kendrick’s deflection of a pass intended for Beckham, into the arms of DB Patrick Robinson.
“You know I’m running a slant. Beat me on a slant. Do it. I don’t see you doing it. That’s just what it has to be. That’s the mentality you have to have,” Beckham said.
Beckham isn’t wrong; it’s just a horrible look for him to selectively speak out this way.
Now in McAdoo’s defense, the Giants’ offense has improved to score 47 points in the last five quarters after scoring 13 total in the season’s first 11. There is also a major reason that the coach had to move to a hurry-up offense starting Week 3 in Philly:
GM Jerry Reese left him with an offensive line that still can’t run or pass block effectively. McAdoo can’t let Manning drop back normally all game because his line can’t give him the time to throw consistently.
And that is one of many factors that proves Mara must hold Reese accountable, with the Giants inevitably missing the playoffs for the fifth time in six seasons this winter.
This all seems to be snowballing into a team-wide avalanche of issues for McAdoo, though, and it’s not clear if he’s up to preventing this season from getting out of control (if Beckham’s revelations don’t indicate it already has).
McAdoo’s offense hasn’t scored in a first quarter yet and is averaging 59.3 yards rushing per game. His defense has surrendered four fourth-quarter leads the last two games and on top of that let Philly drive with the game tied for a winning drive.
Special teams are killing them, with two costly Brad Wing punts the past two fourth quarters, a huge early coverage gaffe by Roger Lewis and a missed Aldrick Rosas field goal in Tampa.
Not to mention McAdoo has made some questionable calls to go for it on first-half fourth downs instead of kicking field goals and taking the points when the Giants desperately need more points, especially early.
And throw in there Beckham’s Wednesday comment on the state of the team, when he admitted they were pressing in Weeks 3 and 4 in Philly and Tampa, affected by the public panic over their 0-2 start.
“When the story gets written that you’re 0-3 and it’s like, ‘Oh, what are we doing,’ and you hear a lot from the outside world, that’s where a lot of press(ing) comes from,” Beckham said. “And no matter what you want to do, you hear it, you feel it. So I feel like it may have gotten to us the last two games, but it’s got to come to an end.”
McAdoo then made an alarming comment Wednesday when asked how he and his coaching staff must approach re-educating the team on the fundamentals they haven’t mastered.
“You don’t want to go back to a training camp mode, but you want to get pretty close,” he said.
Training camp? Coaches never use those two words in season. But when your season feels like it’s over after four weeks, things change.