The New York Giants‘ star wide receiver caught a handful of passes in live drills, mostly against Pro Bowl cornerback Darius Slay. He exploded out of his cuts, aggressively plucked the ball out of midair, made impressive one-handed grabs and didn’t appear to show any signs of the broken ankle that ruined his 2017 season.
“He did great. You’ve watched him all summer here compete in practice,” coach Pat Shurmur said. “If you create the same setting and it’s just against a different team, then you’re just out there practicing. That’s what he did.”
He looked good in the process, from catching passes in a one-handed drill to head-to-head matchups with Slay to special-teams drills.
“He looks like he’s going. He’s catching the rock, running the rock. He’s always going to be explosive. He’s never going to lose that until he’s 50 I guess. I don’t know. Other than that, he’s Odell.”
Darius Slay, on Odell Beckham Jr.
Beckham broke his ankle in a Week 5 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers back in October. He missed the remainder of the season and coach Pat Shurmur did not play him in the preseason opener Thursday night against the Cleveland Browns.
It had been 300 days before Tuesday’s practice since Beckham had worked in a live 11-on-11 setting against another team. Slay didn’t see any falloff in his explosiveness, something Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard said earlier this summer.
“He looks like he’s going. He’s catching the rock, running the rock,” Slay said. “He’s always going to be explosive. He’s never going to lose that until he’s 50, I guess. I don’t know. Other than that, he’s Odell.”
Beckham was the best player on the field Thursday against the Lions, and quarterback Eli Manning‘s favorite target. Beckham’s afternoon ended with a pair of receptions against Slay in a two-minute drill.
Yes, the old Odell appears the same as the new Odell. That has been apparent throughout this summer, where he has participated in live drills without incident since the start of training camp.
There was a moment earlier in the week where Beckham was returning a kickoff and locked eyes with safety Landon Collins near the 40-yard line. They were about to race for the end zone. Beckham found an extra gear and dusted Collins, who runs in the 4.5 range, on his way for a touchdown.
While Beckham had been limited at times this summer, it did not appear that way at all on Tuesday against the Lions. He even participated in one-on-one drills against a cornerback, something the Giants had seemingly avoided since the start of camp.
“He was out there practicing today,” Shurmur said of the change.
Nothing appears to be off the table. Beckham has even spent time this summer fielding punts and kickoffs. He caught some punts and showcased his impressive array of cuts and spins on returns afterwards against the Lions.
The Giants don’t seem to have any reservations putting their star receiver in a live practice environment (albeit without tackling) despite coming off injury and with a contract extension potentially on the horizon.
“He’s very good at [punt returns] ,” Shurmur said. “He can return punts, kicks. He’s practicing in the event that we’ll use him.”
It was part of the impressive display he put on the field Tuesday against the Lions.