Frustrations purportedly boiled over for Denver Broncos first-round wide receiver Jerry Jeudy in the wake of Sunday's loss to Kansas City, a game in which the complaintant found himself on a milk carton — missing.
In tweets that have since been scrubbed from his social media account, Jeudy quipped that "at least I got my conditioning in," a potential shot at quarterback Drew Lock, and "it all makes sense now lol," in response to a recent Odell Beckham Jr. quote harshly criticizing former Giants head coach and current Broncos offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur.
Not counting the travesty that was Denver's Week 12 loss to New Orleans, Jeudy suffered through his worst game of what's been a maddening first-year campaign for the No. 15 overall pick. He finished the 22-16 defeat at Kansas City with one catch for five yards. He's seen five targets over the past two games — damning: fellow rookie WR KJ Hamler was targeted five times alone on Sunday — and hasn't scored a touchdown nor cracked 100 yards since his Nov. 8 explosion (7-125-1) against Atlanta.
Suffice to say, coming from red-carpet treatment in Alabama, it's an extraordinary fall from grace. The limelight to no light. A big fish to a tiny minnow. National praise to ... crickets.
And perhaps it's not coincidental he'd remark on Beckham's scathing accusation — that Shurmur alienated Beckham from other players — right after Jeudy himself seemingly was alienated from the Broncos' game plan.
But those in his crosshairs don't necessarily find fault in Jeudy's public airing of dirty laundry. Pressed by reporters, Lock rationalized that it would be bad if this wasn't happening.
“If he’s happy about not getting the amount of balls that he wants, then there’s something going on there. You want a receiver that wants the ball. You want a guy that wants it in his hand and wants to make plays. That’s what we like about Jerry," he said in a Wednesday conference call. "He wants the ball in any situation—the beginning of the game or crunch time towards the end. People play him a certain way, and you go throughout the game and you make your reads. Sometimes you don’t end up getting to him, and sometimes you hit the guy. He could have been the second person on the read, but one was open. It’s how the game flows, and I know he’s learning that right now. As a receiver in this league, there are times where it’s tough to get the ball every once in a while. It’s about fighting through those games and getting ready to practice the next week and go into the next one thinking you’re going to catch 15 that game. Just being ready for that opportunity for the next Sunday.”
Broncos head coach Vic Fangio, meanwhile, merely chalks it up to the (diva) position, and all that it entails.
“Well, the last three games—the game before this past one—obviously he wasn't going to get many balls thrown to him that day. I don't think he's hit the wall at all," he said Wednesday. "I think he'd just like to have more catches and I don't know of any receiver that doesn't feel that way. I'm glad he's a little frustrated that he's not getting more production. We want our guys to feel that way. I don't know what he said or didn't say on Twitter, but I'm OK with Jerry. Jerry's in a good spot.”
While it's true that Jeudy lacking complacency is a positive, taking to Twitter in this fashion is never a good look for anyone involved. Such gripes should be handled privately, and beyond that, Jeudy isn't blameless; he's dropped more than a few balls thrown to him this season.
Depending on how the coaches want to handle damage control, there's a possibility he's placated in Week 14 when Denver faces a Carolina defense that just surrendered seven catches, 70 yards, and two TDs to Vikings first-round wideout Justin Jefferson.
Jeudy knows this: Closed mouths don't get fed.