Odell Beckham has been uncharacteristically quiet both on and off the field in recent weeks. That ended Friday.
In an upcoming interview with ESPN's Josina Anderson that was partially published Friday, Odell Beckham expressed concern about his team and its 1-3 start, chalking it up to a lack of heart and energy.
"It's just it's a different place the energy," Beckham said. "It isn't like -- where I say we come from -- it isn't that savage mentality of like -- and it's partly the NFL. You know, it's different than college. When we left practice in college, we goin' to eat University Seafood, we goin' to Kane's, we goin' to get some food, we gonna chill in the room like we chill together. And [in the NFL] when everybody leaves they've got a family, they've got a wife, they've got kids to come home to. And ... I don't have that, so I try and build that relationship with my teammates because I want to know who am I going to war with everyday. When the heat's on, who is this person outside of just being at work and saying what's up?
"So 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 gonna be a problem for me. And just playing with some heart. We just need to play with some heart. We're only 1-3, you know. The year we went 11-5, we were 2-3. We ended up being 2-3 after five games. So you never know when you can go on a run."
Of course, Beckham's expression of honesty wasn't finished until he threw in a question about why Eli Manning wasn't throwing it to him down the field.
"But it's just a matter of when we gonna go on a run," Beckham continued. "How come we can't throw the ball for more than 20 yards? 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. It's what we bring when we line up before the game, all of that. It counts."
Beckham wants the ball more for bigger gains (he's averaging just 10.7 yards per catch), but the more concerning point is his calling out his team's heart. Any athlete will take umbrage at a fellow competitor making such a statement. And it's even more concerning because it's coming from a locker room run by a first-year head coach who didn't have the most ferocious team during his first go at being a head coach.
That same coach, Pat Shurmur, talked to reporters Friday and responded to Beckham's statement.
"That's probably a better question for him, what he meant by it, but I do know this: our team has a heck of a lot of heart, our team plays with a lot of energy," Shurmur said. "What we haven't done is we haven't executed quite as well as we need to yet, and that's really, instead of energy, it's more execution.
"That's what we're all striving for. We've got a locker room full, these guys have a ton of heart, including Odell, and a lot of want-to, and I think we'll break over here once we start executing better. We as coaches have to continually fight to put them in the best position possible, and then we've got to execute."
Known for being rather demonstrative in his first few seasons, Beckham had toned down his antics as he was forced out by injury and inched toward a new contract. Now that he's healthy and has an extended deal, his patience is again running thin after the team's slow start. Being shut out of the end zone through four games doesn't help either, even with his average of more than seven catches and 80-plus yards per contest in 2018.