EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Can Odell Beckham Jr. keep it up? Can the Giants’ sensational wide receiver continue his relentless go pattern through the team’s and the NFL’s record books? Can he make his third professional season as productive and memorable as his first two?
And after having proven he can post such impressive numbers, does he feel less pressure to do it again this season?
“I don’t think so,” Beckham said. “If not the same, it’s even more. You’ve become a target. It just is what it is. I don’t really like the term, ‘Pressure.’ It’s not something that I feel in a sense of, ‘I have to do this and I have to do that.’ This is football and this is what I’ve done all my life. I love it. I just come out here and give it my all. Hopefully, that’s good enough day in and day out.”
So what word would he use instead of pressure?
“I guess, ‘Expectations,’” Beckham said. “The expectations are set in other people’s eyes. Obviously, I have my own expectations. I don’t know how I’d feel like if I didn’t go for the same amount of yards. There’s always going to be someone that has something to say. There’s always talk and chatter. This is a different year, a new year with more opportunities to be better, improve and win games.”
It’s that objective, winning games, that drives OBJ, who will try to help the Giants start their season successfully Sunday against the Cowboys in Dallas. The team finished 6-10 in each of his first two seasons. Yes, he likes the gaudy statistics. But he gets much more excited about winning.
“I definitely want to get better each and every year,” Beckham said. “Whether it’s put up better numbers, but I just want to get better every year. The numbers mean something in a sense, but the 6-10 number, flip that around, 10-6 means a lot more. I just hate losing. I’m cool with other people being open, we’re scoring. There’s no better feeling than being on the field and everything is clicking and we’re winning games. I remember my freshman year in college. We were 13-0 and I wasn’t going for 120 yards a game. It was 50 yards, five catches, the blocks that you made to spring a running back. It’s really about winning. I hate losing.”
In his first two seasons, Beckham finished with 1,305 and 1,450 yards, but the Giants won a total of 12 games. Would he be willing to go for less than 1,000 if the Giants earned 12 victories in one season?
“If we’re in the playoffs, I don’t care at all,” Beckham said.
Beckham’s two-year statistical achievements border on the otherworldly. His totals of 187 catches, 2,755 yards and 25 touchdowns are all franchise records for a player in his first two Giants seasons. The yardage total is an NFL record for a player in his first two seasons. With 12 touchdown catches as a rookie and 13 in 2015, he was the seventh player in league history with double-digit touchdown receptions in each of his first two seasons. It took five pages in the Giants’ media guide to cover all of Beckham’s milestones, which would have required more space had he not missed five of the 32 games.
Even his head coach isn’t certain Beckham can continue pushing the statistical envelope.
“The numbers he’s had the last couple of years, they’re going to be tough to duplicate,” Ben McAdoo said. “We always talk to the offense that we can’t go out there and play with two footballs. There are a lot of guys that deserve opportunities to touch the ball. We don’t always dictate where the ball goes, we let the coverage dictate it.
“He’s matured. He’s a guy that’s been out there in the offseason and at camp healthy, working at staying healthy and learning the intricacies of the offense. Not just as an outside receiver but learning inside. He’s developing into a leader for us.”
Beckham’s third year in the offense McAdoo brought to the Giants promises to be productive and exciting.
“I like to just keep going up,” Beckham said. “Being in the offense for two years now, you’re able to learn the little things above the X’s and O’s that you can do in an offense. You’re able to expand it a little bit more. We’re taking strides every day. Starting with Sunday, we have to hit it full speed. No slow starts to the season. I think it sets the tone.”
For Beckham and for the Giants.
*McAdoo will make his head coaching debut on Sunday. The Giants’ previous 16 head coaches were 8-7-1 in their first games.
McAdoo is the third consecutive Giants coach to debut against an NFC East opponent, and the second in a row to do so on the road. The last two Giants coaching debuts ended in the same score. Jim Fassel beat Philadelphia in Giants Stadium (31-17 on Aug. 31, 1997), and Tom Coughlin lost to the Eagles in Lincoln Financial Field (also 31-17, on Sept. 12, 2004).
*Defensive tackle Robert Thomas was added to the Giants’ injury report. He did not practice because of illness. Linebacker Jonathan Casillas (ribs) and safety Darian Thompson (shoulder) remain limited in practice.
*The Dallas injury report remained the same as yesterday. Three Cowboys did not participate in practice: quarterback Tony Romo (back), defensive end Charles Tapper (back), and linebacker Mark Nzeocha (Achilles). Guard Ronald Leary was limited with a groin injury.
Michael Eisen | Giants.com | September 8, 2016