EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –** Two of the NFL's very best rookies will play on the same field Sunday when the Giants clash with the St. Louis Rams in the Edward Jones Dome.
Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is tied with Miami's Jarvis Landry for first among all rookies with 71 receptions. Beckham has 972 yards and nine touchdowns, Landry 672 yards and five scores.
St. Louis' Tre Mason is second among all rookie running backs with 661 rushing yards. He is averaging 4.3 yards a carry and has scored three touchdowns, including an 89-yarder. Among first-year backs, Mason trails only Cincinnati's Jeremy Hill, who has rushed for 877 yards and eight scores.
With just two games remaining in the season, candidates for the major postseason awards are beginning to crystalize. That includes Offensive Rookie of the Year, which no Giant has won since it was first awarded in 1957 (Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor was voted Defensive Rookie of the Year in 1981).
Beckham admitted today that he's looked at the other contenders for the award, though he is hardly obsessing about it.
"It is always in the back of your mind, but right now, honestly, just finish out the last couple of games and whatever happens, happens," he said. "You can only control what you can control. I am just, whatever happens, happens.
"If it were to happen, it would be quite an accomplishment, but that is not up to me, just keep doing what you're doing. … If they vote for me and I win it, I win it. It's in the back of your mind, but at the same time, you've still got two games left and you just have to finish strong, really."
Beckham's primary goal right now is to, "win the last two (games), finish strong. That is the biggest thing, just winning."
Asked who he would select if he had a Rookie of the Year vote, Beckham said, "Jarvis Landry." And second? "Jeremy Hill."
That is due more to loyalty than modesty. Landry and Beckham are best friends and former roommates at LSU. Hill was also one of their collegiate teammates. Mason, by the way, played at Southeastern Conference rival Auburn.
Beckham, of course, has become a phenomenon in the last month. He missed the first four games with a hamstring injury and has since set numerous team records and set new NFL rookie standards. Tom Coughlin, who wants to ensure that his new star remains hungry and humble, was asked this week if Beckham is the best rookie he's ever coached.
"I am not going to go there," Coughlin said. "He certainly has made a tremendous mark. There are a lot things that prevail here. You want to finish the season strong, you want to come back and have another one, you have to avoid having all the things that can bring you down. We are very excited to have him."
At his post-practice meeting with reporters today, Coughlin was asked the kind of question he gets only about Beckham: "Do you watch Odell Beckham almost a little bit as a fan when he's doing his thing?"
"Not if I'm standing on the sideline," Coughlin said. "I'm rooting for him all the way, but I'm counting the impact that he makes in the game. When I get to Mondays, sometimes I'll run it back maybe an extra time or two."
Does Coughlin "take a glance at him in practice?"
"Every time he's got the ball or every time the ball is directed there, sure, just like anybody else," Coughlin said. "I follow the progression just like you would if you had the sheet that I'm looking at. Wherever the ball gets directed, through the quarterback's eyes, that's where I'm going if we're throwing it."
Offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo is doing his part to keep Beckham grounded.
"He has handled a lot of responsibility well," Beckham said. "We need to work with him. (Wide receivers coach) Sean Ryan does a great job with him. We need to continue to work with him in expanding his role and seeing what he can handle and really going through an offseason and seeing what he does well. Where we are right now is we are putting game plans in and we have a good feel for what his strengths are and detailing his strengths and making sure we bring his weaknesses up and make those better. The offseason is the time where we will be able to help mold his game and see where we can go with him and his position."
Beckham, who was limited in the months after he was drafted by the hamstring injury, is excited about the chance to improve his game in the spring.
"I am really looking forward to the offseason," Beckham said. "Just to be able to get completely healthy and get your body right. Work on whatever you feel you need to work on and come back, and just the potential, everything is there. We just have to put it all together."
Know your opponent for the Giants Week 16 matchup vs. the St. Louis Rams