ALLEN PARK, Mich. – Odell Beckham, Jr. continues to demonstrate on the practice field that he is healthy, but when he will have an opportunity to prove that in a game remains a mystery.
"It's just about timing," Beckham said today. "Whenever it's time to go, it'll be time to go. I'm feeling pretty good, I'm feeling fast. It's starting to come back to me. I'm just very thankful to be where I'm at right now."
Neither Beckham nor coach Pat Shurmur would say whether the Giants' sensational receiver would play in tomorrow night's preseason game against the Detroit Lions. Beckham did not play in the opener last week vs. Cleveland.
"Coach and I have a game plan," Beckham said. "We usually figure it out and we just go from there. So we'll see what it is for this week, and then worry about next week when it comes."
"I've got a plan, so it will get revealed tomorrow night," Shurmur said.
Beckham was a full participant in the joint practices with the Lions this week, when he looked just as he did prior to breaking his left ankle last Oct. 8, an injury that required surgery and ended his season after four games. He was running fast, stopping on a dime, and catching everything thrown his way.
"There were some periods where I remember I was going eight plays in a row, or something like that," Beckham said. "You kind of build up that wind. And even in practice, I've been getting pushed a lot at practice. Asking for reps just because I need it. I need to feel that. I need to feel eight to 10 plays, maybe 15 plays, and just kind of get that back. It's just very helpful to be able to come out and go against somebody else and compete. Every day that you have the chance to go out on the field, we have a chance to get better right now. So, that's all I'm focusing on.
"I just need it, the season is coming up. You need that work, I can't really shy away from it right now. Like I said, once your ankle snaps and you feel like your whole world is turned upside down, you see things a little different now. To just be able to simply walk again, to run again, to do those things. It really was a blessing so right now any chance I get to go out on the field and practice my craft, I'm going as hard as I can."
Beckham was challenged in practice this week by Detroit cornerback Darius Slay, who was a first-team All-Pro and a Pro Bowler in 2017, when he led the NFL with eight interceptions.
"I've been going against Slay since (the corner played at) Mississippi State," Beckham said. "Every time I see him, it's always good energy. Obviously, he's been one of the best corners in the league. He's been doing his thing for a while. Like I said, we've been competing since college. It's always been hard every time we've gone against each other. We just like to compete. We're both guys who love to play football and compete.
"Right now, I'm really just trying to get back to the best that I can possibly be. So to go out there and to be able to work some of the techniques, work on some of the things you've been working on and go against somebody else, it was a good confidence builder. We've been doing it in practice. You put the pads on, you go against somebody else. It was a lot of fun. It was much needed."
Can the same be said of getting some game action? Beckham has not played in a game in more than 10 months. The Giants open their season vs. Jacksonville on Sept. 9. Beckham was asked if he needs to play, catch a ball, and get hit before then.
"I don't know," he said. "I've been playing football all my life. Football is always going to be football. I can go in preseason and get hit a million times and go in a game and get hit once. I can go in preseason and get hit once, you never know, every play in football is a dangerous play. I feel very confident in myself and, like I said, I've been playing football all of my life, so it's always going to be football to me."
View the best photos from the Giants' joint practice with the Lions.
*The Giants and Lions held an hour-long workout on a wet grass field before separating to begin final preparations for the game tomorrow.
"Good situational work today," Shurmur said. "We got some special teams (work). We actually shortened what we planned to train a little bit, but we got through some good situational work really to cap off what I think was a really, really good week. Very competitive. As I mentioned all week, it's always good to go against another team and now we'll try to get their legs back, get them ready to go and get after it tomorrow night."
*Shurmur was asked what he learned about his team in these practices.
"I think every situation, especially the uncontrolled situations, aside from the tactics of football, you just see the way the guys respond to adversity, see the ways guys respond to playing in a different setting, and that's what I learn," he said. "Then, if for some reason they don't respond as well as we would like, we address it with them and say, 'Hey listen, the next time this comes up, you should be thinking this.' So when you can do it against another team that you're not going to play this season unless we meet in the playoffs, then it's a really good thing for the player, and so that's why I think this is valuable."