Monday’s practice was about keeping an eye on one rookie receiver. Another one stole the show.
Odell Beckham Jr. returned to the field for the first time in three weeks due to a hamstring injury he suffered on the first day of training camp. He participated in individual drills which included running through a gauntlet of teammates trying to dislodge the ball from his hands and running routes without any defender in front of him. The receivers also did a drill in which they worked on their release off the line of scrimmage against the cornerbacks, but Beckham did not participate in that one. Nor did he participate in any other team drills. Tom Coughlin said on Sunday that if Beckham was feeling up to it he might do more than just the individual drills. Apparently he wasn’t.
He did flash one play that should be enticing to Giants fans: He ran down the right sideline towards a pass from Eli Manning that seemed to be overthrown and caught up to it to make a one-handed grab on a full run.
So while the first-round pick’s every move was put under the microscope, you might soon need a telescope to see Corey Washington because the undrafted rookie could be a star.
Washington, who has caught the game-winning touchdown in both preseason games, found himself running with the first-team today due to injures that sidelined not only Beckham but Victor Cruz (knee), Jerrel Jernigan (knee) and Marcus Harris (hip). HE made the most of his opportunity, starting with three straight catches from Eli Manning in the no-huddle part of practice, continuing on to an over-the –shoulder catch along the sideline on a deep pass from Manning with Prince Amukamara in coverage, and capping his day with a leaping grab over Zack Bowman.
“He’s been one of those kids, you throw it up and he goes and gets it,” Coughlin said. “That was good.”
Washington even made a veteran-like play batting down a pass that linebacker Jameel McClain nearly intercepted. Good football awareness. They must teach that stuff at Newberry College.
Besides the passes to Washington, it was clear that the Giants have moved on to the next phase of installation with their offense and that includes deeper passes. Eli and the other quarterbacks were airing it out more today than they have all training camp combined. Or at least it felt like that. Manning made a nice pass for Mario Manningham along the right sideline on a deep out that the receiver just missed pulling in (it would have looked a lot like the SB46 play had he caught it). In 7-on-7s Manning chucked a deep pass down the left sideline that Rueben Randle was able to bring in with one hand while in traffic with Prince Amukamara and Stevie Brown. On eone play Manning looked like he wanted to go deep to Washington but he was being double covered by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Antrel Rolle, so he settled for an underneath route to Randle. Curtis Painter, who saw second-team reps for the first time in camp off his strong performance on Saturday night, threw a deep pass for Manningham that went off his fingers in the end zone. Randle also caught a TD on a fade with Justin Anderson in coverage, but he tried to make another one-handed grab on an inside route and wound up just tipping the ball to Antrel Rolle for the only interception of the practice.