Giants’ Beckham on the mend, ready for London
EAST RUTHERFORD – The opportunity to play in London appealed to Odell Beckham Jr. from the moment he learned the Giants would face the Rams across the pond this season.
“I took some visits to London this off-season, and did some things for NFL UK. I’m excited about the opportunity,” Beckham said. “Just try to get better [health-wise] day by day.”
Beckham is expected to be ready for Sunday’s game against Los Angeles as he deals with a hip pointer in his left side and participated in a limited practice Thursday. Beckham is coming off his best game of the season last Sunday against Baltimore, and said he felt better Thursday than he did Wednesday.
“Trying to get healthy enough to play this week,” Beckham said. “Really, all I’m looking forward to.”
Beckham already has visited London multiple times this calendar year, including a trip with rapper Drake, and the wide receiver came away impressed with the fans’ passion for American football. He recalled seeing lots of Giants jerseys during his tours, and expects both teams will receive a lot of support.
The 23-year-old recreated his famous one-handed catch with Tottenham midfielder Erik Lamela by catching a soccer ball during a trip in July, and also showcased his soccer skills during his stay.
“The love they have for football over there – football, as in soccer, and what they are trying to do to integrate it into American football is pretty incredible,” Beckham said before the Giants departed for London. “I feel like it is going to be a very welcoming reception for both teams as well. I think they are excited about it and we are looking forward to the opportunity as well.”
Beckham certainly will be the star attraction of Sunday’s game, and should suit up provided he does not have any setbacks in the next few days. Giants offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan said the team is “very optimistic” Beckham will be ready, and Thursday’s limited practice was a good sign.
“He’s been very focused in terms of assignments, and things we’re going to want to do from a pass-game standpoint,” Sullivan said. “He’s in tune, he’s focused, he’s determined. We’re hoping for the best.”
Beckham torched the Ravens for 222 yards and two touchdowns on eight catches in last Sunday’s 27-23 victory, and his huge day helped the Giants to their best offensive showing in three games.
The Giants will have another tough task this Sunday against a Rams defense that can be among the best in the league, although the unit has not been as stout as expected and is dealing with injuries.
Beckham enjoyed success against the Rams in his one previous meeting with them on Dec. 21, 2014, when he tallied 148 receiving yards and two touchdowns, but was at the center of a brawl that day. Alec Ogletree tackled Beckham way out of bounds, and multiple players were ejected after the skirmish.
Coach Ben McAdoo does not expect Beckham to get caught up in any antics.
“Odell and I, we talk every day,” the coach said on WFAN. “We talk about the different ways we can stay in the moment. I don’t think that will be a problem this week.”
Even after his big game Sunday, Beckham is still a hot topic around the league as he has been chided by some for his celebrations with the kicking net. Beckham did not seem to care about those critiques.
“I’m just here to play football,” Beckham said. “Bottom line.”
BRIEFS: Cornerback Eli Apple (groin) has been limited in practice the past two days and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo hopes to have Apple on Sunday. Apple was inactive against Baltimore. … Spagnuolo added he believes Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is getting closer to 100 percent.