EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Odell Beckham, Jr. is into degree of difficulty, which can result in loud cheers and standing ovations.
The Giants' mercurial receiver was today catching passes in practice with one hand, the second day in a row he took the acrobatic route. Yesterday, he reached up to grab an Eli Manning pass with just his right hand in a two-minute drill. Today, his best catch was in a one-on-one drill, when he was covered by Janoris Jenkins. OBJ jumped up, shot his right hand into the air, and snatched the ball.
"Honestly, today before any of it happened, I told them what I was going to do and it just happened," Beckham said after practice. "I feel like yesterday – I told the receivers in the room, I said, 'I don't know what happened, I just kind of clicked out.' I'm in a different place right now and he threw the ball and I was like, 'I've seen this before.' It felt like it was like a dream. Just being able to have that confidence and come down with those plays. I try and bring a lot of energy to this team, especially to my wide receiver room."
The catches – like everything else Beckham did with the ball in his hand(s) in training camp – elicited a loud outburst from the fans in attendance. It also prompted someone to ask Ben McAdoo his reaction when Beckham makes a one-handed catch.
"I like two hands on the ball better than one," McAdoo said. "I like completions better than incompletions."
Asked if he preaches to Beckham the importance of using two hands, McAdoo said, "See my last answer." McAdoo did add, "I think, so far in camp, Odell has caught the ball very well."
"You're supposed to catch the ball with two hands, obviously," Beckham said. "I know that as well. Sometimes it just happens. If you catch it, hey, great play. But they'll definitely still sit there and be like, 'Use two hands.'"
Beckham made the most famous catch of his career – and one of the best receptions anyone has ever seen – with just his right hand. That, of course, was his spectacular touchdown grab against the Dallas Cowboys in his rookie season. He also made a one-handed touchdown catch last season against Detroit. But those highlight plays didn't give him a perpetual green light from the coaches to catch any pass he pleases with one hand. Did McAdoo approach him yesterday, after Beckham's five-fingered grab in a high-profile drill?
"I don't remember hearing it yesterday," Beckham said. "I think I jogged back slow, that way they can maybe forget about it and go to the next play. I'm not trying to teach the kids out here to use one hand. I was taught growing up to use two hands."
Beckham strengthens his claim as the NFL's most exciting player with each sensational reception. That leads to the question, does he prefer the spectacular to the routine?
"Get the job done," said Beckham, who did not play in the Giants' opening preseason game against Pittsburgh. "That's just where I'm at, just get the job however you can. If I've got to fight and scrap for it, whatever I've got to do to come up with it, it just has got to be mine. There's just no other way to put it."
It was suggested to Beckham that when he makes a one-handed catch it can be to his advantage to have the other arm free.
"When you're fending them off with this arm, you're trying to keep them away in a space," he said. "But with that being said, there's been a lot times in the past three years where I didn't necessarily make the play because I'm trying to fight off a defender. And not so much you're trying to fight them off anymore, it's just go get the ball. Let them make a play on you. So, it's really crazy, you know, you're running these deep routes – or anytime the ball is coming to you – it's a split second of decision that could last a lifetime. So, I'm just working on catching everything that comes my way, making sure I don't have any mental errors, mistakes. Just be the best that I can be."
Beckham came across as relaxed and content in his 10-minute meeting with reporters. Now entering his fourth season, he has grown up professionally in McAdoo's offense. Coach and player both joined the Giants in 2014.
"I'm just in a different place, I don't even know how to explain it," Beckham said. "I don't even feel like I'm here sometimes. My mind is just out of that. But like I said, just trying to get better each and every day. We talk about it, (improve) one percent (each day). So, what can I do to get one percent better than yesterday? And that's obviously the goal. If you stayed the same, you didn't get better at all. And if you're not getting better, that's not why I'm here. So like I said, I'm just trying to get better."
He still works in East Rutherford, so why is he in a better place?
"You get older, you grow, things happen, incidents and things changing," he said. "I think it's just growth, which is a good thing. I feel like we all can grow and the moment you stop growing, you're not really getting any better as well."
Just the thought of a better Beckham is enough to excite Giants fans.
View the best photos from Giants Training Camp practice