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Odell Beckham Dances Through Practice

Odell Beckham is dancing in training camp, but is that practice for 2017?

Detroit Lions v New York Giants Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

You can’t stop him, so don’t even try.

Odell Beckham Jr. is going to dance.

It’s an expression of his passion for the game that if there’s music playing, OBJ is going to be moving to it. His touchdown dances get the most attention, but he always seems to be bustin’ out a move — in warm-ups, in the locker room, or in the middle of practice (just because he can). It can rub some people the wrong way, especially if he just scored on their team, but there’s also something refreshing about a young man who just loves what he’s doing.

About a year ago I named “Thriller” as Beckham’s “Entrance Music”. At the time I was thinking about all the records that that album set; I didn’t think it would be prophetic. But as it so happened, as the season wore on, every time Beckham would score a touchdown he would pay homage to the Prince Of Pop.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Dancin’ Odell has been at it in training camp, and cameras caught him dancing when Michael Jackson came on the Giants’ practice playlist Tuesday.

(Umm... How is he doing that in cleats? Is it magic? I’ll just go with ‘magic’.)

Dancing during the brief lulls in training camp is all well and good, but I think Giants fans are more interested in how much Odell will be dancing in the 2017 regular season.

I won’t venture into a full-fledged prediction territory, but I think the short answer will is “A Lot”.

I’m basing that on a pair of factors.

First, the offensive personnel, particularly with the additions of Brandon Marshall and Evan Engram, resembles what surrounded Beckham in 2015, when he caught 96 passes for 1,450 yards and 13 touchdowns. While Sterling Sheppard effectively supplanted Rueben Randle’s production in 2016, adding Brandon Marshall — who should be an improvement over both Randle and Cruz outside — will force defenses to pay attention to both sides of the field, giving Beckham more room to work. Likewise, Evan Engram gives the Giants a versatile and hyper-athletic weapon they can move all over the field. Will Tye played well in 2015 and was the best rookie tight end in the league despite being an undrafted free agent and starting the season on the practice squad, but Engram is a rare athlete for the position and a was very productive in a similar role in college. His presence should give safeties and linebackers fits, further opening up the the field for the other four (potential) receiving options.

With a limited offense in 2016, teams force Beckham to play in a phone booth — often boxed in by the sideline, a corner underneath, a safety over the top, and a linebacker. With more room to work, Beckham should be able to get more done after the catch and be able to run his full route tree, where he was largely limited to slants in 2016.

Secondly, I believe that how the 2016 season ended has been a thorn in Beckham’s side throughout the off-season. Playing through an injured hand obviously impacted his ability to catch the ball (his trademark), culminating in a play-off performance that saw him drop passes that he never drops.

I have nothing to back this up, but I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that at least part of the reason why Beckham trained on his own this off-season. Put simply, the current CBA has put serious constraints on how much work coaches are able to do with players, and Beckham would have been able to train harder on his own than in the Giants’ facilities.

Until we know for sure how the Giants will design their offense and distribute the ball, there will be the question of how many passes each of their potent receiving options will see. Beckham will likely be in the lead, but with Marshall and Engram, not to mention the return of Shane Vereen, there are only so many passes to go around and balls for the other guys have to come from somewhere. So while he might see a smaller market share of passes, I think he will do more with the passes he gets, catching a higher rate for more yards and touchdowns per catch — and total — than in 2016.

In short, I think Odell is going to tear up the NFL in 2016.

...I also think that, with all due respect to Michael Jackson, there is only one option for his first touchdown dance: The Eli