Pat Shurmur understands perfectly that no one knows his body better than the player himself, that if you have an injury and could risk making that injury worse, you should not play.
And if this is indeed the case with Odell Beckham Jr. (quad), he should be shut down for the last two games of the season. Better safe than sorry with your $95 Million Man. No-brainer.
But Pat Shurmur doesn’t sound convinced yet that is the case.
Beckham’s teammates, to a man, will tell you that it kills him having to miss the last two games; his competitive fire is legendary to them.
Shurmur nevertheless sent a message to Beckham — and to everyone else — on Wednesday that he wants that fire burning even if there are no playoffs at stake. The culture that Shurmur is trying to build demands that you do everything in your power to will yourself back to game day, at any time, at any place.
As long, of course, as any long-term risk does not outweigh any short-term reward.
“I think at this point, I think it’s the player’s responsibility to do everything they can to get on the field, get back in the games,” Shurmur said. “We’re coaches and players, and we play the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, and so it’s important that we do everything we can to show up.”
He was asked if there is a value in protecting Beckham, who made it back this season from his fractured ankle, so he doesn’t make it worse for the future.
“I think it’s important that all the healthy players are ready to play in the game,” he began. “I guess that question leads into that these two games aren’t important, and I don’t believe that. I think what’s important is that we as a team do everything we can to go out there to play the game and try to win the game.
“Running parallel with all of the thoughts moving forward in the offseason is this team trying to learn how to win again. And again, I’m speaking as the coach, where we’re doing everything in our power to put a plan together to win the game. And that requires that all the players do everything in their power, if they’re injured, to make it back for the game, and then if for some reason they can’t, then you do it for the next week. So that’s the philosophy.”
The philosophy frowns upon the temptation for any player to baby an injury, or slack off on his rehab.
Beckham did no running at practice Wednesday.
“He said he feels better than last week,” Shurmur said.
Would he do some work on the side?
“See what the rehab entails,” Shurmur said. “It changes as the player’s injury progressively gets better, so we’ll see.”
There is a difference between playing hurt and playing injured, and no one knows this better than Eli Manning — who would play quarterback for the Giants left-handed if he had to.
“If you can play, you go play,” Manning said. “That’s our job, that’s what we’re here for, don’t matter the circumstances or what’s going on, you go do your job. We’re football players, you practice and you play in games, and you try to enjoy that ‘cause everybody knows when’s your last one or when’s your next one, or where it’ll be next year, so you enjoy this team, this group of guys, and you try to go win a game together and enjoy that.”
I asked Manning if he has gotten a sense for how frustrated Beckham has been missing the last two games.
“Yeah, he wants to be out there, no one likes to be injured and when we had a chance and had a shot to keep this thing going,” Manning said, “so it’s a tough situation and I know he wants to be out there with his teammates.”
Sterling Shepard: “I feel like this is what we’ve all waited our whole lives to do, is play football in the NFL, so it’s gonna hurt anybody in that position.
“I think it’s pretty simple: If you can go, you can go. If you can’t, you can’t. You go based off of what the training staff is telling you and they ultimately give you an option, ‘cause nobody knows your body better than you do, so if you feel like you can go, then you’ll go, but if you can’t you can’t.”
Evan Engram: “He’s the only person that knows his body and how he feels. The training staff’s not gonna not listen to him if he’s hurting.”
Shurmur seemingly doesn’t want Beckham thinking he has to be 100 percent to return.
“I don’t see why he would just be like, ‘Oh I’m not playing,’” one Giant said.
If he’s injured, he shouldn’t play.
If he’s hurt, he should try.