It’s always nothing. Until it’s something.
So it turns out that Giants receiver Kenny Golladay wasn’t yelling at quarterback Daniel Jones when they were caught on camera seemingly screaming at each other on Thursday night. Golladay was yelling at offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, who was seated next to Jones, partially blocked from view. That probably doesn’t make it any better. Optically, it might even make it worse.
But the Giants say, predictably, that it’s no big deal, that stuff like that happens on the sidelines all the time. And they’re right. It does. It’s only news when it’s caught on camera or when someone notices it through their binoculars from far away in the press box.
Or when it lingers and builds into something else.
That’s the real danger and why everyone will be watching Golladay very closely the rest of the season -- specifically his relationship with (and actions towards) Garrett. Maybe it really was simply Golladay being “just passionate, just being a competitor,” as he sort-of explained. Maybe he did “let the emotions get the best of me.” Maybe it was just all about “me wanting to do anything I can.”
Or maybe not.
“This is a guy that in the heat of the moment, you speak very passionately,” Giants head coach Joe Judge said on Monday. “You kind of speak with some emotion. I speak with emotion on the sideline. There was no blowup or anything that has to be made of it. I understand sometimes the perceptions will be what they are, but like I said the other day, there’s no issue there.”
Judge is probably right. It’s often hard to tell from TV or from the press box, but arguments – or heated discussions – on the sidelines aren’t uncommon. In the heat of a big moment, emotions do run high. Golladay is far from the first player to yell at a coach. Sometimes it’s just yelling about a situation – nothing bad at all.
And sometimes it’s bad. Look, he wouldn’t be the first receiver to go full diva, if that’s what happened. He wouldn’t be the first to demand the ball – though when asked if that’s what he was doing, he said “No, not so much that.” Even if he did, so what? Plaxico Burress was a pretty demanding receiver, and that worked perfectly for the Giants. Odell Beckham, Jr. had the diva act down pat and he was on his way to being the best receiver the Giants have ever had.
Of course, Beckham only started with loudly and passionately demanding the ball. Eventually things built up and he turned on his quarterback – privately at first, much to the dismay of former Giants head coach Pat Shurmur, and then publicly when he made it clear in a national TV interview that he thought Eli Manning was the Giants’ problem. And that’s a big part of why he’s an ex-Giant now.
And before Beckham, there was Jeremy Shockey. The volatile tight end was constantly complaining to Manning and the coaches on the sidelines (and to anyone who would listen in the locker room) that he should get the ball more. It just kept building. In fact, some coaches and players from those teams still believe that when Shockey broke his leg and was placed on injured reserve late in the 2007 season, it relaxed Manning, made things easier for him, and in some ways, sparked a Super Bowl run.
Golladay has been on the Giants for six months and two games. All anyone really knows of him here is that he got a four-year, $72 million contract from the Giants after not really drawing much interest in free agency from anyone else. There were whispers around the league about character concerns, and it was clear to everyone that he didn’t get along with former Lions head coach Matt Patricia. But a lot of Lions apparently hated Patricia. And there are tons of whispers about players around the league, many of which are just not true.
So what’s the truth about Golladay? Was this the emergence of a distraction? Is he a diva? Or was it really just nothing and all over once he and Garrett hugged it out in the post-game locker room, as Judge said they did?
Golladay says he and Garrett are good.
“Yeah. I mean, that was literally right there during the game,” he said. “Me and him spoke right after the game. It was literally nothing.”
He’s probably right. But maybe he’s not. That tale will be told the next time the Giants are struggling on offense, the next time Jones can’t seem to get Golladay the ball, the next time Golladay has questions about or frustrations from Garrett’s game plan.
Most likely, their nationally televised spat was probably nothing to worry about.
But that really depends on what comes next.