EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –** A year ago, Odell Beckham Jr. missed most of training camp, the Giants' five-game preseason and the first four regular-season games, and still had the best statistical season by a rookie wide receiver in NFL history.
So what can he do in 2015 with the benefit of a full camp and a few tune-up games?
"I don't know," Beckham said today. "I guess only time can tell, really. I know that practice will make it easier, but at the end of the day, it's football. It's what you've been doing for a long time. As long as you're on the same page with Eli (Manning), whether it's mentally or physically, I think it will be fine."
Last year, he was numerous levels above fine. In just 12 games, he caught 91 passes for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns, and became the first Giants player to be voted the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in the 58-year history of the award.
His issue last summer was a strained right hamstring. This spring, the strained hammy was on his left side, forcing him to miss many of the Giants' spring drills, including the team's June minicamp. But Beckham made it through the first week of training camp without a problem (knock on wood), though he's not blind to the fact that it could re-occur.
"Hamstrings are always going to be on your mind," Beckham said. "You can ask anybody who ran track, anybody who has ever pulled a muscle, it's always going to be something in the back of your mind, no matter if you try and let it go or not."
The Giants have Beckham and Victor Cruz, who underwent knee surgery last October, on a so-called pitch count, limiting their reps in practice. But both receivers have been on the field every day and display no evidence of struggling to run, cut, jump or catch.
"It was probably more of a question about Victor coming off the injury and he didn't do anything in the spring, and didn't know how it would feel, how it looked, and his progress with that," quarterback Eli Manning said. "I think he's looked great out there. He's been out there a bunch, and seems to be feeling good, running his routes the normal way, getting in and out of breaks. So (I'm) excited to see that. I was thinking Odell would be back and seems to look fresh and look good out there as well. So I think both guys, as far as I can tell, feel good and look good."
But Beckham isn't treating every snap like it's a potential fourth-quarter game-winner. He knows it's a long camp, and a long season, and he must pace himself.
"I open up every now and then," Beckham said. "There's times where you just pull back, it's still early. Just trying to make it through as many practices as you can and get better."
Last year at this time, Beckham was relegated to working on the side with the team's athletic trainers while his teammates practiced. And he had become bored responding to questions about his injury and when he might return. This summer is far more enjoyable.
"It's a lot more fun to be out there than when you watch, I can tell you that," Beckham said. "It's been cool just being able to go through practices and start to recover, and you feel what it feels like to go through these practices. Just being able to get back out there each and every day and take something new from every day, learn from it. It's been fun."
One reason for that is that second-year offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo continues to add new wrinkles to the Giants' attack. That should create more opportunities for Beckham to shred defenses as he did last year.
"That's all of us, Reuben (Randle), Vic and myself," Beckham said. "It started last year a lot, we started moving around to different spots. So it's not something that he (McAdoo) just added yesterday, it's been built up over time. (He is) just moving each one of us around, putting us in different positions and making it hard for defenses to line up certain coverages or game plan certain ways."
At the same time, Manning has thrown the ball exceptionally well in camp, furthering the notion the Giants' offense has the potential to be one of the NFL's very best this season.
"I think it's going to be a great year for all of us," Beckham said. "Eli looks great, the receivers are looking better, and the offense is starting to click."
And a healthy Beckham is thrilled to be part of it."