On Monday night, New York Giants fans shared a moment of extreme panic when their star player took a low hit on a completion against the Cleveland Browns. Fans held their breath as the season flashed before their eyes waiting to see if Odell Beckham would get up unscathed. While the initial replay of the hit made it appear as if Beckham may have suffered a devastating knee injury, it turns out that he is only dealing with an ankle sprain. Beckham is likely out for the remainder of the preseason, and possibly the first one or two games of the regular season. However, this is much better news than what could have been.
Beckham is the Giants best player, and one of the best players in the league. Certainly the Giants benefit from the electrifying play maker, but would a season-ending injury really have eliminated the chances of a New York Giants playoff birth? No. The Giants would have to adapt their offense without Beckham, but a number of other factors would help the Giants remain in prime position to secure a playoff spot for the second year in a row.
Could the New York Giants Win Without Odell Beckham Jr.?
Wide Receiver Depth
The first place to look at when examining how the Giants would fare without their best play maker would be the wide receiver depth chart. Beckham is without a doubt the best receiver on the Giants roster. This isn’t to say that the Giants would not have the personnel to compensate for Beckham’s absence. In fact, the Giants have one of the best receiving corps in the league. If Beckham were to be out, Brandon Marshall would slide up to fill the number one spot. Sterling Shepard would continue to man the slot. Evan Engram would hold down the tight end position. The only real, potential shake up would be at the number two receiver opposite Marshall. This role would likely fall into the lap of Roger Lewis, a young receiver who has shown glimpses of play making potential.
The second thing to consider with Beckham is that he is playing the wide receiver position. Yes, there are games where Beckham carries the offense. However, his absence would not be as burdensome as a season ending injury to someone like Eli Manning. Manning and the quarterback position are the real keys to Ben McAdoo’s offense. It is well known that Beckham is the superstar of the offense. Still, a committee of receivers could step in place to ensure the Giants put up points in his absence. Manning’s durability and experience, 211 consecutive starts and 13 seasons played to be exact, make him irreplaceable at the moment. McAdoo and company would find themselves in a very unfortunate predicament if they were forced to play a season with Geno Smith or Josh Johnson under center.
The third, and most important, aspect to consider when imagining a Giants team without Beckham is the strength of the Giants defense. The reason the Giants made the playoffs last year is because of the defense. The reason the Giants have hopes of returning is the defense. As an individual, Beckham is probably the second most important player on the Giants roster behind only Manning. As a unit, however, the Giants defense is far more important than the offense. Landon Collins and company are the ones who will determine whether or not the Giants make the playoffs. The success of the Giants offense will be more important in how deep into the playoffs the Giants can go. Time and time again last season the Giants defense compensated for the inadequacies of the offense. While a Giants offense without Beckham would be even harder to carry, the Giants defense could still manage the load.
The Last Word
Every rational Giants fan would be devastated by the loss of Beckham. His play making ability is unmatched by any player currently on the Giants roster. He could be the difference in a close contest. His value goes much further than the number of yards he racks up, or the number of touchdowns he catches. When he is on the field, the defense has their eyes on him. He takes attention away from other players. He helps the offense run as fluidly as possible. This does not mean the Giants are helpless without him. Had his injury on Monday night been more serious, the Giants would still have a very solid opportunity at clinching a playoff berth. The Giants wide receiver depth, Eli Manning, and the defense would help ensure that the team would not collapse without their star. While Odell Beckham is a special kind of talent, he does not solely dictate the success of the Giants.