The Odell Beckham Show
Odell Beckham Jr. put on a spectacular show on Saturday.
The first play of 11-on-11, the first somewhat real full-squad play of training camp, turned into a crowd-pleasing long touchdown pass from Eli Manning to a wide-open Beckham. The play would have been roughly a 60-yard touchdown.
Beckham embarrassed linebacker B.J. Goodson (c’mon, Spags, how did Goodson end up trying to cover Beckham?) on a deep sideline route. Beckham later made a diving sideline grab with Eli Apple in coverage.
“Odell being Odell,” said wide receiver Brandon Marshall. “Amazing.”
Marshall said later that “Odell obviously is the best player in the NFL.”
Beckham also made sure to play a bit to the large crowd that was on hand. Oh, and I have to mention that he has been practicing in old-shool NBA length short shorts. Guess he figures he’s gotta show off those legs.
If you’re scoring the backup quarterback competition at home, give today’s round to Geno Smith over Josh Johnson.
Smith, most impressively, moved well while working 11-on-11 for the first time. Working with no brace on his surgically-repaired knee he moved easily while executing a couple of sprint-out passes. He did, sort of embarrassingly, hit one of the markers that was taking the place of an offensive lineman on a throw during 7-on-7 drills. He did, though, make a beautiful throw on a deep out to tight end Matt LaCosse.
“It was good to get him out there in the team reps. It was the first time we had a chance to put him out there,” said head coach Ben McAdoo. “It’s exciting to see. Good competition at the quarterback spot.”
Josh Johnson, on the other hand, didn’t have a great day. He seemed hesitant to let the ball go on several throws, ending up with incompletions or throw-aways.
Rookie Davis Webb had only a couple of reps during practice, not nearly enough to make any judgments.
Smith was the second quarterback in the rotation throughout Saturday’s practice. Do not, however, read anything into that yet.
“We’re gonna roll them all in there, give them all a chance to get some reps,” McAdoo said. “Whether it’s two, whether it’s three, whether it’s four, we’ll roll all those guys.”
Brandon Marshall’s Big Play
Wide receiver Brandon Marshall made a nice catch on the very first play in the offense vs. defense portion of training camp, adjusting to a Manning throw that was slightly off target and taking the ball away from Janoris Jenkins.
“Felt good. You hear a lot of talk about being over 30 and then there’s an extreme drop off. For me that play was awesome because it’s really the first play of training camp, first time going against the defense. Being a new guy you want to prove yourself, and then secondly I want to prove to myself that I can still do it.”
Marshall had a play later where he mis-read Manning and ended up in the wrong place, causing an incompletion.
One of the big questions is always who played where? Who was first team? Who was second team? The Giants rolled through players quickly at skill positions, running lots of different combinations with Manning on the first team.
Just a couple of observations:
- No changes on the offensive line.
- Goodson at middle linebacker and Darian Thompson at safety worked with the first team.
- Stansly Maponga, transitioning from defensive end to linebacker, worked with the second-team defense.
- Rhett Ellison worked with the first team, often lining up in the backfield. Evan Engram also got significant first-team reps.
Camp’s First Interception
Manning threw the first interception of camp when he challenged Janoris Jenkins by trying to hit Sterling Shepard deep. The ball hung up in the unusually stiff July breeze, and Jackrabbit picked it. That led to a crazy-looking scrum with players coming off the sideline to either block for, or try to stop, Jenkins from returning the ball.
The Eli Arm Strength Report
Has Manning lost any zip on the ball? It’s a question that always comes up, and one I will try to track as much as I can when I’m at practice. Saturday was actually a good test, because it was unusually cool and blustery for a July day.
“It’s good. We had a little practice with a wind chill out there,” McAdoo said. “Doesn’t happen very often in July, but we’ll take it.”
The deep ball on the Jenkins interception was under-thrown, but Manning threw a lot of beautiful balls. During receiver drills he hit both Marshall and Shepard with well-thrown deep corner routes that were not affected by the wind. There was also the quality deep ball to Beckham.
Evan Engram And Flexibility
First-round pick Evan Engram didn’t make any noteworthy grabs during team drills, but the way the Giants utilized him was attention-grabbing.
Engram lined up all over the place. He spent a few snaps in the backfield, even lead-blocking on a couple of runs. He spent a couple of snaps inline. There were a few snaps as a slot receiver, and some as part of a three-wide split on one side. In addition, Engram was often split wide to one side of the formation while three receivers (Beckham, Marshall, Shepard) were split to the other side.
Most likely, all of that is a sign of things to come.
“We ask a lot of that position (tight end). It’s one of the most challenging positions on the team to play and to learn,” McAdoo said. “We throw a lot at ‘em, have to play fullback, inline tight end, from a wing-type position in the slot and No. 1 receiver, as well as special teams. So there’s a lot thrown at him. We feel he can handle it.”
Shane Vereen’s Value
What did the Giants miss last season with Shane Vereen playing in only five games? Vereen displayed that Saturday.
A couple of times during the team portions of practice, Manning was able to check down to Vereen, turning potential nothing plays into something. It doesn’t seem like much, but making catches to get first downs and keep drives alive is something Vereen specializes in.
- Rookie safety Jadar Johnson did not practice. McAdoo said Johnson stayed inside due to illness.
- Damon Harrison practiced more Saturday than he did on Friday, with McAdoo saying “we’re going to build him up.”
Sunday’s practice begins at 10:55 a.m. ET. It is free and open to the public. Here is the rest of the public practice schedule:
- Sunday, July 30 — 10:55 a.m.
- Tuesday, August 1 — 10:55 a.m.
- Wednesday, August 2 — 10:55 a.m.
- Thursday, August 3 — 10:55 a.m.
- Friday, August 4 — 10:55 a.m.
- Tuesday, August 8 — 10:55 a.m.
- Wednesday, August 9 — 10:55 a.m.
- Sunday, August 13 — 11:10 a.m.
- Monday, August 14 — 10:55 a.m.