Wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz, Sterling Shepard and Roger Lewis flew to Florida late the night of Jan. 1 after the regular-season finale and partied into the morning. Pictures of them surfaced in a club with Justin Bieber and partying shirtless on a yacht.
“We actually were invited. We decided not to go,” Collins said. “Just we wanted — there’s a receivers group and there is [defensive backs] group — so it was like I’m going to go with my DBs. And we decided to do something different.”
What that was Collins wouldn’t say.
“I can’t say out loud,” he said with a smile and a chuckle.
Whatever it was, it wasn’t quite as crazy as the wide receivers’ party, which led to some criticism of the players’ playoff preparation. Meanwhile, cornerbacks Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Trevin Wade were in the weight room at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center early that Monday morning before the receivers had even gone to sleep.
The Giants began preparations for their wild-card playoff game that Tuesday. They lost to the Green Bay Packers 38-13 on Jan. 8, and several of their wide receivers put in subpar performances.
Coach Ben McAdoo said firmly throughout the week that he wasn’t going to pass public judgment on what his wide receivers did on their off day.
“The players are off,” McAdoo said. “They’re not working.”
Collins thought McAdoo would have a meeting on the subject when the players returned that week. He touched on it lightly, Collins said, but the focus was on the Packers.
Giants players didn’t have any problems with their teammates’ decision to travel to Miami six days before their playoff game, even if it did shine the spotlight brighter in their direction, he said.
“We didn’t mind it at all. That was our off day,” Collins said. “You have every right to do whatever you want on our off day. They decided to do that.”
The Giants were adamant after their poor performance against the Packers that the drama had nothing to do with the result. But quarterback Eli Manning thought Beckham might have put too much pressure on himself in his first playoff game. The Pro Bowl receiver had two drops and couldn’t reel in some other potential catches.
McAdoo didn’t rule out the possibility that the pressure of the playoffs might have gotten to his guys.
“I think there may be some signs of some guys pressing in the ballgame,” he said. “You go through it, you learn and next time you have that opportunity, you have to cash in on it.”
It wasn’t just the wide receivers. The Giants defense also had its struggles in Green Bay, allowing 24 points in the second half alone. They allowed just 17.8 points per game during the regular season.