EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Odell Beckham, Jr. seems to be heading for a third consecutive Sunday of inactivity and disappointment.
The Giants' star wide receiver did not practice again today because of the quad injury that kept him out of the previous two games against Washington and Tennessee. If he could, Beckham would be in uniform when the Giants visit the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. But if he's not well enough to practice, he would have to take a great leap forward for the team's medical staff to clear him for the game.
"If I can play, I'm going to play," Beckham said. "It's just the bottom line. You dreamed of being here, you dedicated, gave everything to be here, so you do all this to play games. As much fun as meetings are and all that other stuff, you do this to play games."
Beckham considers every opportunity to play precious, particularly after he was limited to four games in 2017 due to ankle injuries and surgery. If he doesn't play Sunday, Beckham will have just one more opportunity to suit up in 2018 in the season finale in 10 days against Dallas at home. Can he be ready for that game?
"That's the goal," Beckham said. "I want to be able to finish the season as much as possible, but you just got to listen to it. Your body is going to tell you what you need to hear. I feel like times in the past I haven't listened to it and other things have happened, so I'm just trying. Keeping it a day at a time. Not trying to look 10 days ahead. Just trying to look forward to tomorrow and seeing how much more I can do and how fast I can get back out there."
Because the 5-9 Giants have been eliminated from playoff contention, coach Pat Shurmur was asked if the most prudent decision for the franchise would be to shut down Beckham for the final two weeks. Shurmur flatly rejected that idea, saying, "we're doing everything in our power to put a plan together to win the game. That requires that all the players do everything in their power if they're injured to make it back for the game, and then if for some reason they can't, then you do it for the next week. So that's the philosophy."
Beckham seems unconcerned about the possibility of exacerbating the injury.
"There's risks, but there's risks to anything," he said. "It's life, so like I said, just taking it a day at a time. There's not much more I can do than do that and hopefully I feel better tomorrow and then the day after I feel better and day after and day after. I just keep feeling better, that's the goal.
"You work to play these games and to be out there. These same guys, we get up every day, we go to work, get out there and practice hard. You want to play with your brothers. I want to play with (Sterling) Shep(ard), Saquon (Barkley), finish the season strong. Just don't know at this point."
On the plus side, Beckham continues to say he is improving.
"I'm definitely feeling better," said Beckham, who was injured on the final play of the Giants' loss in Philadelphia on Nov. 25. "Just kind of taking it day-by-day. That's all you can really do at this point. I feel like initially when this happened I didn't think much of it and it might have been a little more serious than I thought. Just trying to find my way back. You only get 16 opportunities to play games. Missing them is not fun. I feel like I've missed enough games already, so I'm just trying to get back as fast as possible."
*Linebacker Alec Ogletree (concussion), center Spencer Pulley (calf) and wide receiver Russell Shepard (ankle) also missed practice. Defensive lineman Kerry Wynn (thumb) was limited. Defensive back Michael Thomas returned to practice after missing yesterday's workout because of an illness in his family.
*Rookie free agent center Evan Brown has been on the roster the entire season, but has yet to play in a game. Shurmur this week praised Brown and said he has improved. John Greco will start if Pulley is inactive, with Brown moving up the depth chart.
"Any time a player gets a chance to get game experience, it helps them," Shurmur said. "But I think it always runs parallel to trying to do what's best to try to win the game. At this point, John is more experienced. John has played well at center for us when he's had to go in there and play, and so we expect him to put a good performance on the field."
*Offensive coordinator Mike Shula expects a better performance from his unit in Indianapolis, which is not an outrageous prediction given the Giants lost to Tennessee, 17-0.
"(We) didn't have our best day, for sure, and that's disappointing," Shula said. "All of us are disappointed, but we've got to move on and I think we've done a really good job of that. Ultimately, only time tells when you play on Sunday the next week. But, and I think I speak for everybody offensively, we feel like the arrow's pointing up. Last week, we didn't play well enough against a good football team. But we want to turn the page and go out there and compete, and have a chance to go win against a really good football team, one of the hottest teams in the league, and prove to ourselves that we are trending in the right direction, and that last week wasn't good enough. We can make up for that, we can recover from that, and lay it on the line on Sunday."
*When Thomas McGaughey was hired as the Giants' special teams coordinator, he inherited a kicker in Aldrick Rosas who missed seven field goal attempts and three extra point tries in 2017. This year, Rosas has connected on 28 of 29 field goal attempts and 25 of 26 PATs, and this week he was named the kicker on the NFC Pro Bowl team.
"He's a lot more confident," McGaughey said. "Last year, he was all over the place. Last year, he was a young guy. It was his first year in the league. That's the one thing I talked about with you guys (reporters) earlier this year – young guys are young guys. They make mistakes, they're all over the place, they're inconsistent. It's just like how we all were when we were young. We made mistakes and we did things that weren't good for us. But eventually you learn from those mistakes, and you don't become a repeat offender. Aldrick had done a really good job in his career early, and hopefully he can keep this thing moving."
McGaughey said it was about midseason when he first thought Rosas might be a Pro Bowler.
"When you look at him and what he was doing, he was super consistent," McGaughey said. "The misses that he had in practice, which are like small misses, and he was just consistent. You just saw the consistency every day, and then he was doing it in the games. His warmups, he was just super, super consistent. Once I saw that, kind of midway through, you knew he had the potential and he had a chance to just keep it rolling, and he's done a great job, he really has."