EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –** The Giants' current opinion regarding Odell Beckham Jr. is that less time on the practice field will give him more of an opportunity to help the team on game day,
That is instinctively counterintuitive to Tom Coughlin, who zealously believes in the virtues of preparation. But Coughlin has learned in his long coaching career that allowances must be made for injured players who might not be prepared to work on Thursday, but will be ready to play on Sunday.
And this is one of those times.
Beckham has strained hamstring. To state the obvious, the Giants don't want it to worsen. So Beckham's only practice participation prior to the game in Philadelphia Monday night was the day prior to the game. The routine is begin repeated this week, as the Giants prepare to host the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.
"Just kind of easing into it," Beckham said. "We have our nice little (weekly) recovery day tomorrow, then we practice Saturday. So definitely just looking forward to that and Sunday.
"(It) feels good, feels great. Like I said, just focused on Sunday. We're going to be alright. (The) game plan is for Sunday, make sure you stay in the reps, the book, and know what you need to do, know your assignment."
Beckham believes he can be fully prepared to play even with limited practice.
"More mental reps, more mental reps," he said. "It's just kind of one of those things you got to maintain and get as many reps as you can, whether they're physical or mental. So right now, get as many mental reps as you can and make sure you come out prepared, stick to the game plan."
But if Beckham had his druthers, he's join his teammates on the practice field.
"I'm one of those guys who I like to run the route, I like to feel it out," he said. "You practice hard, you play hard. So sometimes it is hard to not be able to practice, and just kind of have to go into it. But that's where the mental reps really kick in. I've kind of started to learn, last year a little bit as far as (when) I was out and I couldn't really practice, just how important extra mental reps are. You see it here, you see it, you see it, then you go to the field and it's what you've seen. It is very important to get those reps."
Coughlin, of course, would prefer to have his leading receiver catching passes from Eli Manning all week.
"This is where we are right now," Coughlin said. "It may be that way for a while. I hope not. Obviously, you practice you get better."
But as much as Coughlin wants his players on the practice field, he will accept Beckham's absence if he is ready to play on Sundays.
"Oh no question, yeah," Coughlin said. "He plays the whole game and then they deal with whatever he comes out of the game with and get him ready for the next one."
The next part of the equation is for Beckham to do more than play, but to significantly and consistently help the Giants. He did that in the first half Monday night, when he caught seven passes for 61 yards, and the Giants' only touchdown, a 13-yarder. But when the 27-7 loss ended, his stats were still seven catches for 61 yards, and a touchdown. Manning targeted him just once in the second half, when Beckham was constantly double-teamed by the Eagles' defense.
"I always expect it to happen now," Beckham said. "It's not something that I should be surprised by anymore, it just kind of the defense that teams are playing, and it's what they do. With that being said, we just got to step up and make plays, execute in all phases, execute better than we've been doing."
"That's going to happen," Manning said. "Teams are going to have plays during the game when they're going to double-team him and try to take him away, and that's fine. You've got to move him around, don't make it easy for them. But other guys have to make plays. You've got to find the guys that have the single coverage and those guys have got to win for us. So it's not a situation where you try to get a receiver to beat double-coverage all the time. It's playing your reads and going to where the defense is telling you to go."
Offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo said the reduction in production was not Beckham's fault.
"The game changed, so they changed the way they were playing," McAdoo said. "They played more two deep coverages, played some man-to-man underneath, and we didn't execute very well.
"Odell didn't press in the second half, he let the game come to him, like we asked our receivers to do. We just weren't executing, period. It wasn't Odell. We had a bad half of football that we need to fix, and it's fixable."
The Giants ran only 22 plays in the second half (42 in the first hall), so Beckham's opportunities were relatively scarce.
"We didn't have a chance to run many plays and they came out and created havoc," Beckham said. "They did more than what we did, they made more plays.
"We didn't have too many plays that we ran well, we didn't really play well the second half as a team in the second half. We're kind of moving forward to Dallas right now."
And practice or no practice, Beckham promises to be on the field Sunday.