Bottled up Beckham cannot wait for his New York Giants revival
By Curt Macysyn
In the space of one offseason, plenty has occurred for New York Giants dynamo Odell Beckham, Jr.
At the top of most New York Giants fans’ list is the big contract that OBJ recently signed with the team. That pact keeps Odell Beckham in Big Blue control until 2023, according to Spotrac. But after the initial fanfare of last week, a completed contract situation became second fiddle to Beckham’s impending return from serious injury.
Most NFL players, especially those at skill positions, go through the challenge of recovering from a major injury. Beckham’s return from a shattered ankle, suffered during the team loss to the Los Angeles Chargers last Oct. 8, is close to coming to fruition.
He can feel it, and the fanbase craves a triumphant comeback. But can OBJ deliver?
Patience has never been Beckham’s strong suit. Adding to his return from injury is the “new” aura surrounding the only professional team that OBJ has ever known. The New York Giants added a new coach and general manager, as well as a plethora of new players. This new reality occurred on the heels of an awful 3-13 campaign that saw both general manager Jerry Reese and head coach Ben McAdoo fired.
More from GMEN HQ
- Workout clip of Evan Neal training with former All-Pro OT has Giants fans excited
- NFL Draft Schedule of Events: How to Navigate Draft Weekend
- 4 NY Giants who must step their game up in 2023
- This SEC CB at No. 25 overall for the Giants is gaining steam
- When is the NFL Draft?
Still, all of these issues have been cast aside by the player himself, who simply wants to “strap it on”. Per the team’s official website:
"“I can’t stop thinking about [playing in my first game in 11 months]. I’m at home, I’ll be in the middle of conversation, my mind doesn’t get off this game. It’s been a long time. There was a lot of hard work and preparation just to be able to get back to running and playing again. So, I’m excited. I’m real excited about this team and the opportunity we have in front of us.”"
As if the story line around Beckham’s return wasn’t enough, the G-Men face off with their old coach Tom Coughlin’s Jacksonville Jaguars. Coughlin landed as executive vice president of football operations with the Jags in 2017, after spending a season in the NFL offices.
Yet so much has changed around the New York Giants since Beckham’s injury, it wouldn’t be fair for Big Blue fans to place the entire burden of victory over Jacksonville only on his shoulders.
The Challenge Ahead
For Beckham to have a successful return, the New York Giants must vanquish the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. The Jags are as strong a defensive presence as any team in the NFL. And due to the verbal exploits of cornerback Jalen Ramsey, everyone knows how good there are, and how good he is.
Perhaps, the former LSU star’s new contract and status has brought a keen sense of awareness, in addition to $90 million. And with awareness comes perspective. Previously, the old OBJ may not care about who he was lined up against. Just wind him up and let him play.
Meltdowns against Minnesota Vikings Xavier Rhodes, the St. Louis Rams Alec Ogletree and of course, Josh Norman, then of the Carolina Panthers, affected the star receiver’s play. Ironically, Norman was cut by Giants general manager Dave Gettleman and challenges Beckham twice a season with the Washington Redskins. Gettleman also acquired former foe Ogletree in a trade with the Los Angeles Rams this past March.
Winding OBJ up and letting him play received terrific results, but for the star receiver to reach the next level, change was imperative. With age comes wisdom, and OBJ now realizes it’s more than a personal battle.
He acknowledged so, according to Giants.com:
"“[Jaguars] have a very good scheme, probably the best defense in the NFL. We have a very tough challenge ahead of us. I think we’re all excited about the opportunity just to be able to come back and play football again. I know that I’m very excited. It’s definitely going to be a good match.”"
If Beckham and the New York Giants clear this hurdle on Sunday, it could create a motivation that catapults the team through the early part of their schedule. In addition to the Jaguars, the G-Men also face the Houston Texans, Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints in September. All of these squads are considered playoff contenders, and the Giants would like to force their way onto that list as well.