NEW YORK (WFAN) — A day after the Giants lost to the Cowboys in their season opener, Eli Manning admitted he didn’t expect Odell Beckham Jr. to play in the game.
Beckham was considered a game-time decision but was ruled out before kickoff due to a sprained ankle he suffered in the preseason.
“I didn’t think he was going to play,” Manning, the Giants’ quarterback, told WFAN’s Mike Francesa on Monday. “I mean, he didn’t practice all week. He hadn’t practiced in three weeks, so I think it’s tough for a guy not to practice in three weeks and then show up and play on Sunday. It’s not like he hadn’t just practiced. He hadn’t run routes. He hadn’t really done much of anything.”
The Giants were held to just three points in the loss, which has led to speculation that the offense could struggle even when Beckham returns. But Manning said some of the Giants’ problems on offense Sunday night were not unexpected and not necessarily an indicator of how they might play going forward.
“That first game, nobody’s really played four quarters,” he said. “Two games, you play a quarter and a half. So to play four quarters, and you’ve got to put it all together. And you have some new guys out there, new faces — there’s some nerves going. I think that first week, there’s always going to be a little bit of sloppiness at times, and hopefully you can overcome it and make some big plays. We didn’t make those big plays that we needed to.”
But Manning said he feels good about the new players added to the offense this season and the multiple sets they can run as a result.
“I think (rookie tight end) Evan Engram did some good stuff last night, made some tough catches, made some plays,” Manning said. “I thought (tight end) Rhett (Ellison) did a good job, having a couple catches and doing good in the blocking game. We’ve got to get (wide receiver) Brandon (Marshall) more involved. To not get him a catch until the very end is unfortunate.”
To listen to Francesa’s full interview with Manning, click on the audio player above.