EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — This was hardly Keyshawn Johnson's "Give Me The Damn Ball" demand from Odell Beckham Jr.
Actually, Beckham didn't issue any sort of demand at his locker Thursday.
But the New York Giants have talked about wanting to get their best offensive playmaker the football early and often, and that sentiment was echoed by head coach Pat Shurmur and offensive coordinator Mike Shula in separate interviews as they try to scheme up ways to awaken a dormant offense with so many weapons.
From Beckham's perspective, there certainly isn't anything wrong with that approach.
"I don’t mind," Beckham said with a wry smile. "I just know, and I guess it’s for anybody, if you can make one or two big plays early, your confidence is up. You know that I’m ready for whenever it comes to me again, but if you don’t get it, you kind of can’t find a rhythm, it’s hard. It’ll be like a three-point shooter getting in a game and doesn’t get to get his shot up. It’s hard to find a rhythm, so it’s just about finding a rhythm, collectively."
The Giants followed their hard-fought Week 1 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars with a Week 2 clunker against the Dallas Cowboys, and now they head into Sunday night desperately seeking a win against a fellow 0-2 team in the Houston Texans.
After watching the game against Jacksonville, Beckham said he believed the Giants were close to breaking out offensively. Did he see the same thing against Dallas?
"It wasn’t as close as the first week. They just came out and outplayed us," Beckham said. "Some days, a team comes out and they just play a really good game and Dallas did that. Not to say we weren’t prepared, they just played a better game. Same thing as last week – 0-2 now, we’ve got to win. But it’s not like the whole season is over if you don’t. It’s just, you want to win games. We game plan it, we got some good stuff in and we’ve got to come up with a victory."
Missed assignments have short-circuited the Giants' attack in both games, and clearly issues in pass protection – both up front on the offensive line and in the backfield, in particular from fullback Shane Smith, who was waived Wednesday – have represented significant hurdles they've yet to overcome.
Beckham caught 11 of 15 targets for 111 yards against the Jaguars, in addition to drawing a pair of pass interference penalties. However, he went long stretches against the Cowboys without seeing a target, finishing with four catches on nine targets for 51 yards.
The Giants have not reached 30 points since Tom Coughlin's last game, the 2015 regular season finale, and while Shurmur is just two games into his tenure, the offensive drought for the franchise is something tangible that, if ended, would seriously enhance Big Blue's chances of winning moving forward.
"I feel like there’s no way you can’t score a touchdown in every quarter, and one somewhere else. It just doesn’t seem unrealistic to me," Beckham said. "I feel personally, I could score two touchdowns every game. I feel like Saquon [Barkley] could score two every game. There are other people on this team who could score every single game. That’s over 35 points. It’s just a matter of executing it and making it happen, really. But it doesn’t seem out of reach for me in my mind, I don’t want to win 24-21. I’m trying to win 52-18, whatever they score – zero. Nobody said it had to be close."
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