Odell Beckham Jr. looks to play on Sunday and get back to his typical superstar form:
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.– Odell Beckham, Jr. made his 2017 debut Monday night as a reserve who was on the field for 34 of the Giants' 55 offensive plays. He caught four passes for 36 yards, the longest a 16-yarder, in the 24-10 loss to the Detroit Lions.
Because Beckham is still rehabbing the ankle he sprained a month ago today in Cleveland – and had missed the season-opener in Dallas - coach Ben McAdoo said after the game, "We just wanted to pick our spots, get him back in the mix, get him back in the fold."
The Giants will return to action Sunday in Philadelphia, where Beckham hopes to play a larger role and have a more significant influence on the game.
"It's hard to get in the groove when you're in and out," Beckham said today. "So, I look to play a lot more this week, in my opinion."
And, yes, he believes he can be the same dominant performer he's been in the past.
"I told you, my mind is on another level," he said. "I feel like I can take over a game at any time, no matter ankle, anything like that. So it's just a matter of getting those opportunities and making the most of them. Just playing as a team, we have to play better in each and every phase. Defense, special teams, offense. We just got to do better."
Beckham yearns to be the impact player he's always been, and not just because the 0-2 Giants are seeking their first victory. Making big plays is part of his DNA, and he wants to enjoy doing what he does best.
"I always want to be a difference maker," he said. "I think last year around Week 5, we were 2-3. So there is not really any panic in my eyes. I know it's a long season. We didn't have a good start. I know it's cliché, but it is not about how you start, it's how you finish, but it really is."
The Giants believe that statement applies to the entire team, but it could also be true for Beckham. The three-time Pro Bowler is still limited in practice, as the Giants take care not to put too much stress on his ankle. Beckham said he had no setbacks during his 34-play stint on Monday.
"So keep ramping up the rehab," he said. "Just try to get as good as you can get, you know what I mean? … I don't think that (getting treatment) is ever going to stop. I've been doing that since the hamstring (an injury he had as a rookie in 2014). Going home, rehab, all of that stuff. I don't think that's going to stop now."
But Beckham concedes his ankle might not completely heal during the season.
"I mean, I don't know," he said. "The ankle is something you get on every single day. So you never really know. But I'm going to get as good as I can get, and I know once I'm comfortable cutting off in each and every way, I don't see that there will be any problems with it, even if it's not 100."
Beckham said he doesn't think about the injury when he's playing the game. But he also admitted it does affect him.
"It's just like actually when you make the cut," he said. "I remember I tried to make a cut in the game and I ended up having to jump over him (the defender) because I couldn't get up field. So it's just little things like that, but it's coming back.
"It's not so much a mental thing. It's when you actually go to make the cut and you turn out and you put force on it the same way that you created the injury, it's a little difficult."
In Philadelphia, Beckham will see a familiar face in an enemy uniform. Eagles cornerback Jalen Mills was a teammate of Beckham's at LSU.
"Jalen and I went at it every single day," Beckham said. "We fought, we competed every day. So this is a guy who I've gone against, a guy who I've competed against, have respect for and I'm happy to see him in the league and doing his thing. Unfortunately, he plays for Philly, but it's a guy who I've gone against, so I do expect to see him and the other corners as well. I know (Ronald) Darby went down, so they have some other guys filling in and stepping up and playing that role."
Beckham also had supportive words for the man who throws him the ball, quarterback Eli Manning. Asked if he still believes in the 14-year veteran, Beckham said, "All day, every day. I talk to him about passing up whoever is in front of him, touchdowns, yards, all of that. We talk about all of that. So, do I believe in 10? Absolutely. Is he going to lead us there? Absolutely. He's done it before and I don't see why he wouldn't do it again. He just had a slow start, you know?"
So have the Giants. Beckham hopes to help get them up to speed on Sunday.
View the best images from Thursday's practice as the team preps for Week 3