EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Here is where the Giants are with Odell Beckham, Jr. -- another meltdown at Green Bay on Sunday night and he will be benched. And depending on the severity of it, he could be suspended by the team for at least one game, maybe two.
Two different Giants coaches told me this on Wednesday. This has been the straight talk, the real talk with Beckham. They do not expect, however, that it will come to this. They think he gets it. They think the worst of his in-game tantrums are over.
Of course, they thought that after the Carolina fiasco last season.
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That has to be the concern with Beckham, that after his Josh Norman, penalty-laced, emotional crack last season that the Giants had the rest of that season, the entire offseason and training camp to get to this receiver to correct his actions. And more importantly, for the player to do the correcting.
Does he possess the "emotional intelligence" to do it?
It was Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie who strikingly used that phrase when he fired coach Chip Kelly last December. Lurie was talking about Kelly connecting more on a personal level with his players. The term fits here with Beckham in terms of him channeling his intense passion and competitiveness into on-field play rather than to wild on-field and sideline antics.
The Giants could see all of this cooking for awhile.
When Beckham as a rookie was sidelined by hamstring injury, it was an intense emotional burden for him. When he surfaced and began to soar, they realized they had a megastar on their hands without a tangible blueprint to deal with it. As he entered his second season, they were concerned if his maturity would match his star power. During the Norman debacle, they were hands off. Since, it has been a lot of coddling, a ton of communication and encouragement mixed with challenging him. They revere his fire, an ingredient that helps to make him so special. They have been baffled over how to cap it without sapping it.
Top down the Giants have been bewildered by this. But no more. It is at a point now where Beckham simply has to control himself -- or else.
It's a shame that Beckham has put the spotlight so squarely on his behavior because a core of the issues he is dealing with, the backdrop is not all his fault. His head coach, Ben McAdoo, and his quarterback, Eli Manning, in consecutive losses have not been good enough. Both have helped create the quandary.
Beckham did not touch the ball in the loss to Minnesota on Monday night until the second quarter. Sure, he just missed hauling in a long reception, he dropped a pass, and he looked as if he ran a wrong route on a Manning interception. Still, the Giants did not establish him early enough or continue to create ways throughout the game to get the ball into his hands.
Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner did this with receiver Cordarrelle Patterson. Remember those frequent, wide screen passes to Patterson? Turner kept dialing it throughout the game, ensuring his best receiver touched the ball. McAdoo is too good to fail to scheme a way to make sure that happens, from the start, with Beckham. I imagine this will be an early order of business against the Packers on Sunday night.
And anytime an offense is schemed to simply throw the ball into the ground when the rush is heavy, and this is what happened frequently against the Vikings, there is a schematic problem. Either that or Manning is making too many poor choices at the expense of remaining safe. The entire offensive plan and execution of it against the Vikings looked ludicrous.
I think McAdoo and Manning know it, even if Beckham became the fall guy for that inept offensive showing.
Manning cooled down from the "he bought it on himself" rhetoric on Beckham and now is talking about just trying to get on the same page with him.
McAdoo admitted it was a mistake to not get Beckham the ball, especially early.
"I've got a job to do," McAdoo said.
It needs to start with scheming, insisting, demanding that his best offensive player gets the football. A lot. Beckham has not. That is a beefy root of his latest tantrums.
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Beckham is a sensitive guy.
Some of his teammates told me on Wednesday that Beckham saw Cincinnati Bengals receiver A.J. Green recently dominate on the same field where Beckham plays his home games and noted the gigantic 300-yard receiving game of Atlanta Falcons receiver Julio Jones, too. Beckham considers himself their peer and more. Why not me? He clearly sees it as a difference between the Giants winning and losing games.
I think his teammates do, too.
One of them told me on Wednesday that the locker room is a 75/25 split on being completely behind Beckham compared with being fed up with his emotional, tantrum-filled antics. That 25 percent, the player said, is enough for concern.
Giants linebacker Devon Kennard said he has talked to Beckham and supports him.
Giants defensive end Olivier Vernon said: "Odell is a passionate player. I like that about him. We're just four games in. We are 2-2. We've got 12 games left. Let's just make adjustments and go play football. I'm not worried about any controversy. We've got passion around here. That's why I came here."
Giants running back Bobby Rainey echoed that.
"We've stopped ourselves a lot, some things we haven't done right, but we can fix that and be fine," Rainey said. "I encourage Odell to just be patient. The world is full of impatient people. I used to be one of them. That is something I had to work hard to fix about myself. Understanding patience and working hard goes a long way."
Nobody among the Giants wants to hear about Beckham being a 23-year-old kid who deserves time to figure it all out.
No, this is a third-year player. This is a man. NFL careers often start to shrink at age 30. There is too little window in this league to view a third-year player like a rookie. They want Beckham to cool it and concentrate on the next play. And the one after that. To become a meticulous surgeon about his work. To fix that body language. Become more polished.
Nobody around him thinks that is asking too much.
No matter how he is wired.
That is why benching and suspension realities, the Giants believe, are the next trigger.