The Giants lost on Sunday, 33-31 to the Panthers, but all anyone wanted to talk about was the interview that aired where Odell Beckham Jr. appeared to implicitly blame quarterback Eli Manning for New York's 1-3 (now 1-4) start to the season. Even after the loss, and the controversy it's stirred in the media, the team seems to agree with Beckham that it actually brought them closer to together.
It all started with an interview Beckham sat for earlier in the week. "I don't know," he said when asked about any ongoing frustration with the quarterback. Through the first four weeks, Manning had failed to find his star wide receiver in the end zone, the longest drought of Beckham's career, and he'd hinted at his frustration before. But this recent sit-down was different, with less equivocating. "Like I said, I feel like he's not going to get out the pocket," Beckham continued. "He's not - we know Eli's not running it. But is it a matter of time issue? Can he 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 met with Manning, coach Pat Shurmur and the team in an attempt to heal any wounds opened with his comments. It wasn't enough for some former NFL players turned media talking heads:
However, despite the anger his comments roiled among the media, Beckham didn't capitulate when asked about it after the loss to the Panthers, and appeared to conclude they actually helped mend a team torn apart by a stagnant offense:
"I don't regret anything," he said in Charlotte on Sunday. "I don't regret anything that I said. If it took that for us to come together as a team like we did [Sunday]. I can take that every single time."
That sentiment was echoed by teammates, too: "One-hundred percent a positive," WR Russell Shepard said when asked about the comments. "We played our asses off [Sunday]. It showed. We just didn't finish the game."
Coach Shurmur said basically the same after the game, concluding after a lengthy sermon, which included a reference to Merchant of Venice, that "these are the kind of things, in my opinion, when we have the locker room that we have that will help galvanize them because the locker room took care of it, and that is all I'm saying on it. Finito. Done Let's talk football, not drama."
For his part, Beckham acknowledged he may have explained his frustrations with Manning in a harsh light:
"It's been on my heart. And I think all the stuff that was built up inside, it just kinda - it came out in the wrong way," Beckham said after the loss to the Panthers. "And I texted [Shurmur], and I asked if I could have a minute to just talk to the team, because I feel like if we're not all on the same page ... if it's not authentic and real, and we can all understand each other, then there's always gonna be miscommunication. So to be able to do that was big for me."
The subject of all the second-hand acrimony, Manning, claimed ignorance about the whole thing:
"I haven't heard anything," he said after his two-touchdown, two-interception performance. "Odell and I have a great relationship. Our mindset will be everybody stay focused on beating Philadelphia."
New York has a short week and will face the Eagles on Thursday night in New Jersey.