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Giants must be creative in getting the ball to Odell Beckham Jr.

New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. looks on from the bench against the Jacksonville Jaguars during an NFL preseason game at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. on Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015. Credit: Mike Stobe

He's not a secret anymore.

That tends to happen when you make the Play of the Year, grace magazine covers, shoot national commercials, and headline a major video game franchise. People notice those things.

People -- and defensive coordinators.

So now, as the Giants head into Week 2 of the NFL season, they have to be creative in finding ways to get the ball into the hands of their most electrifying player: Odell Beckham Jr. They weren't able to do that much in the opener against the Cowboys. Beckham was targeted on just eight passes, catching five. He was practically a non-factor until a pair of third-down receptions on the final drive that accounted for 21 of his 44 receiving yards.

"The way the game went, he didn't get a bunch of targets early on," offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo said. "It's not going to be easy to get Odell the ball. He's a guy that can change the game in a blink of an eye. Teams have a plan for him."

So the Giants need to have a counter-plan. Be creative. Think OTB (outside the box) with OBJ. As they face the Falcons this week and try to rebound from the heartbreaking loss to the Cowboys, they'll need their best player to lead them out of the funk. And for the first time in a while, that best player is not Eli Manning.

Last year Beckham showed up all over the field. Not only was he a receiver, he was taking tosses from the backfield and he even threw a pass. Those are the kinds of plays the Giants need to put Beckham in, the kind he wasn't involved in last week.

If defenses are going to be worried about stopping Beckham, the Giants should just give them more to worry about. Much more.

It sounds as if they will. Perhaps as soon as this week.

"We need to do a good job of playing the shell game with him, so to speak," McAdoo said. "There'll be some times to take a shot or two with him . . . We have a variety of ways we can get him the ball. We'll see how it goes."

The Giants flirted with that a bit. They moved Beckham around the field, lining him up in the slot, out wide, and he was even motioned out of the backfield. But on the crucial play of the game -- the third-and-1 pass -- he was essentially a decoy, motioning from right to left in the direction of the play-action in an attempt to get tight end Daniel Fells free one-on-one.

Tom Coughlin did admit that Beckham needs to have the ball more than just the eight targets he had in Dallas.

"Believe me, we're trying to maneuver the ball around," Coughlin said. "As we go forward -- we've played one game, you're not going to see it all in one game -- you'll see more."

More opportunities. More imagination. And, ideally, more successes.

"Just something to get the team going," Beckham said when asked about the offense lacking explosive plays in the opener. "Whether it was a big run or a big pass or whatever it is, we need to do more to fire this team up."

They have a player who can do any and all of that.

In December, when Beckham was winding up his first season as an NFL play-caller, McAdoo spoke about the biggest lesson he had learned.

"In tough times, you think about players, not plays," he said. "That's the first thing that comes to mind . . . The best play may not be the best play because it doesn't get the person the ball who gives you the best chance to win the game. Getting the ball to the right guy at the right time is critical."

These are pretty tough times. And Beckham is that guy.

New York Sports