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Punt return for TD about all Odell Beckham Jr. hasn't done

New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. tries to get past Tennessee Titans cornerback Jason McCourty in the first half of an NFL game Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014, in Nashville, Tenn. Credit: AP / Mark Zaleski

He catches the ball, he throws the ball, he takes handoffs and runs with the ball. In this do-everything rookie season of Odell Beckham Jr.'s, there are few things he has not accomplished in an NFL game.

One of them, though, is starting to stand out.

The absent jewel in Beckham's Rookie of the Year crown might very well be a punt return for a touchdown.

"That's the only thing he's missing,'' fellow Giants receiver and former LSU teammate Rueben Randle said. "Sooner or later, he's going to bust one open.

"I think he's close.''

So do a lot of people, to the point that it could happen this week against Washington.

Beckham has fielded 22 punts this season, attempting a return on all but five fair catches. He's averaging 8.9 yards with a season long of 25, but most of the consistency has come in the last two games. Against the Titans, he had four returns for 49 yards. The week before that, he had five for 48 against the Jaguars.

"Two weeks ago, almost,'' Tom Coughlin said of Beckham's recent attempts. "Very, very close. The other day, OK. Maybe one or two. I think he was closer a couple weeks ago.''

"We put a lot of work into it and have been waiting a long time for it,'' special teams coordinator Tom Quinn said of getting Beckham to break one. "I think they are blocking better and they are getting a sense of timing. Pretty close the last couple of weeks. You just have to keep swinging away.''

At LSU, Beckham had two punt returns for touchdowns, both in his sophomore season of 2012. He had a 70-yarder against North Texas and an 89-yarder against Ole Miss. He said he definitely can sense himself getting close before he breaks one.

"Yeah, you can start to feel it,'' he said. "You return a couple and get some yards and feel like one of them may be coming. Just keep pushing forward.''

Does he have that feeling now?

"I hope so.''

Washington certainly could be vulnerable after allowing a 78-yard punt return for a touchdown by the Rams' Tavon Austin last week. Austin, who was the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week, returned four punts and averaged 35.8 yards.

"It was a good kick,'' Quinn said of the punt by Tress Way on the touchdown. "Just lost one of their gunners [who] was out of bounds, and a couple of other things happened.''

Beckham tends to make things like that happen, but he hasn't been given the opportunity to really stretch out a return. He put the onus on himself more than his blockers.

"I'm trying,'' he said. "I've missed a couple. Definitely a lot of them were on me. I have to make the right cuts and get more vertical.''

The Giants haven't returned a punt for a touchdown since Dominick Hixon did it Dec. 16, 2009, against the Cowboys. But then again, for most of that time, they haven't had a dynamic player like Beckham back there fielding the ball.

"He's one of those guys, he's capable at any time,'' Coughlin said. "Exactly where the ball's kicked, how the blocking is set up, can he get to the initial block to spring him? Do we block the gunners well enough to allow him to get started? All those things are the questions.''

The answer may be forthcoming.

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