The Giants scored 40 points against the Redskins last week without the injured Odell Beckham Jr., with 33 of the points coming on offense.
Can they approach that lofty number Sunday against the Titans even without Beckham? They will get a chance to find out, as the wide receiver was ruled out Friday because of a lingering quadriceps contusion.
“No setback,” coach Pat Shurmur said. “[He] just can’t go.”
Shurmur wouldn’t speculate about whether Beckham will be able to return for the Giants’ final two games, calling the wide receiver “day-to-day.”
Beckham had tests at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan on Thursday. Afterward, he said the quadriceps “ain’t right.”
So the spotlight again will turn to Sterling Shepard, Bennie Fowler, Russell Shepard and Corey Coleman as targets for Eli Manning against Tennessee.
Last Sunday, that quartet totaled six catches for 77 yards and three touchdowns, or about what Beckham can do on his own in half a quarter. The Giants flourished behind 170 rushing yards from Saquon Barkley and routed Washington.
“Any position, when you have an injury or a player’s missing, the guys need to step up,” Shurmur said after practice. “And I think they’ve done that.
“It could be said for anybody that’s been missing. We’ve had linebackers in and out of the lineup. Same thing. Couple defensive linemen have moved in and out. Early on, it was the O-line, so it’s important that when guys get their opportunities, they make the best of them, and I think that group has done it.”
Of course, Beckham isn’t just some player. He’s part of an explosive two-fer with Barkley, although the rookie running back didn’t skip a beat last week without Beckham to draw attention from the Redskins’ defense.
The Giants know that without Tennessee needing to account for Beckham on every play, their wide receivers’ task will be tougher. It’s also a nice challenge.
“I’ll be more outside than inside,” Sterling Shepard said. “It’s a little bit more on my plate, but I’m up for the challenge. Odell gets the bulk of [the looks] when he’s in there, so it definitely makes room for everybody to spread the ball around . . . It gives you more plays, but like I said, it’s for everybody a little bit more in the pass game.
“I just think from a coverage standpoint, it changes it because you have to pay attention to Odell every time he’s on the field or wherever he’s at. You have to pay attention to him. When he’s not out there, they can kind of get into some of the base looks and some of the things that they do against other teams. So we have film on all that.”
Coleman, who caught two passes for 43 yards but was the only one of the receiver quartet to not score a touchdown against the Redskins, said that as it became clear that Beckham wasn’t going to be on the field, he helped out in the locker room.
“He’s a big part,” Coleman said. “He gives a lot of guys confidence in here. So that’s the big thing. We can learn from him.”