His team is in the midst of a 1-5 freefall. Just imagine how angry he was upon seeing wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.’s interview with ESPN’s Josina Anderson.
“I wish he would create headlines by his play on the field as opposed to what he says and does off the field,” Mara said Tuesday during a break at the NFL owners meetings in New York City. “I think he needs to do a little more playing and a little less talking.”
Beckham signed a five-year, $95 million extension before the start of the regular season. He has 45 receptions for 506 yards and a touchdown in six games.
In an interview that featured rapper Lil Wayne, he complained about the team’s slow start and the way the offense is running. He also made comments that weren’t very complimentary of quarterback Eli Manning.
The Giants lost both games since the interview was aired and are 1-5 for the second consecutive season.
“I’m still embarrassed being 1-5,” Mara said. “I can’t stand up here and make any excuses about that. You are what your record says you are, as a wise man once said, and there’s nothing I can say to make people feel better about that. I’m suffering just as much as fans are, probably more.”
Mara did give a vote of confidence to both head coach Pat Shurmur and general manager Dave Gettleman. Both Shurmur and Gettleman are in their first year on the job.
“I have confidence that we have the right guys in the building to get it to work,” Mara said.
Mara was also asked about his confidence in Manning. He was cautious in his assessment of the 15-year veteran.
“I think when you’re 1-5, it generally means that everybody needs to play better, so, he’s not alone,” Mara said. “I still…we still believe in him, but everybody needs to do their jobs in order for us to be successful, and right now that’s not happening. I know he’s the punching bag right now, but a lot of guys need to play better when you’re 1-5.”
Mara has no regrets over taking running back Saquon Barkley with the second overall pick in April’s NFL Draft. Barkley has shined with 438 rushing yards on 84 carries (ranked sixth in the NFL) and four touchdowns. He also has 40 receptions (ninth overall, first among running backs) for 373 yards and two touchdowns.
Four of the 2018 NFL Draft’s top-10 picks were quarterbacks. Manning’s struggles have been well documented but insists they selected the right player in Barkley.
“We took the best player in the draft,” Mara said. “I’m thrilled with what he’s accomplished so far, and I think the sky’s the limit for him.”
The Giants will conclude Week 7 with a Monday night matchup against the underachieving 2-4 Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. They have not been mathematically eliminated from postseason contention, but it would take sweeping their final 10 games and a little luck to play beyond Week 17.
Mara was asked if he believes the Giants can right the ship. He was very realistic in his assessment of the team.
“I think we’re getting some guys back healthy this week, and hopefully that will give us some spark,” Mara said. “I think we have more talent on the roster than 1-5, but what does that mean? We’re 1-5.”
– Curtis Rawls is a Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage and covers the NFL, the New York Giants, and the NBA. Please like and follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Twitter. Curtis can be followed on Twitter @CuRawls203.