Last year, Odell Beckham Jr didn't feature at all in pre-season through injury and little has changed this term due to the Giants' struggles on the field.
In Saturday's pre-season clash against city rivals the New York Jets in the Snoopy Bowl, OBJ finally connected with Eli Manning after failing to register a catch against the Jags and Bengals. But, as everyone has stressed, this is pre-season.
The Giants went 5-0 in pre-season last year and went on to another losing record with 6-10 and this proves that warm-up games count for nothing when the real business starts in just 12 days -and Beckham was in reflective mood.
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"It was great to finally make some connections with Eli, even if they didn't end up counting. It's all about the chemistry we are building together," Beckham explain on his official website.
"But there's so much we have to improve on. I have to make the play. It’s just one of those balls that I’ll be thinking about."
"It’s time for this team to take another step forward. We have to stay focused; I just love playing ball and if they make a good play you tell ‘em good play and keep moving," he said on odellbeckhamjr.com.
The Giants looked hesitant, and defensively unsure of themselves on crossing patterns, allowing large gains on passing plays - especially on Zac Stacy's 24-yard screen pass touchdown where there wasn't a DB in sight.
Up against the best
But Beckham Jr did catch five passes for 31 yards as the Jets matched him up with their star returning cornerback Darrelle Revis.
'It’s always a learning experience going up against a veteran like Revis.
"You can only become the best by going up against the best, and he is definitely one of the best corners in the league right now, so I'm glad to get those reps in against him."
With their match-up, much like Beckham's battle with Richard Sherman last season, the second-year receiver had a good showing making another spectacular catch - but was unfortunately ruled out of bounds:
This is what Beckham expects for not only this season, but his career as teams now realise he is one of the most explosive and dangerous receivers in the league - calling for double teams coverage and a number one DB.
Dealing with pressure
He also realises that on doing so, they'll want to rough him up and get in his head by targeting him - which we saw against the Jags. The wide receiver isn't afraid to mix it with opponents however.
"I know the corners will be on me; I have to learn to stay connected with Eli even while having that intense pressure.
"People are going to talk, you’re going to talk, you get caught up in the game. It’s heat of the moment, things are going to get said, and after the game, all is forgotten. So we keep pushing."
The Jets and their solid defence offered a tough challenge for the G-Men who would expect nothing less from their biggest rivals - who they will meet again on December 6 - who showed that they are ready to challenge the Pats and Dolphins.
"The Jets were good practice for what we should expect from opponents coming up. One thing we can't let happen is other teams wanting to win more than us."
"This is a hungry football organization and we always want to be the hardest workers on the field," said Beckham.
The Giants hope to get their act together for the final pre-season game against Super Bowl champions the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on Thursday.
Ben McAdoo's offence is struggling with timing - which can be a quick fix, but the offensive line needs to be constantly improving to keep Manning on his feet long enough to find his receivers.
The defence is another issue which is attempting to adapt Steve Spagnuolo's system and stay fit as injuries continue to build up with Stevie Brown returning from a year with the Houston Texans.
The developing defensive unit will be looking to dominate and rush the Patriots' young quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo.
"We have to look forward now to the Patriots, who are always a tough team. We have a long history with the Patriots. We are going to have to work hard and try to come up with some big plays."
"We hold the advantage with more wins during pre-season [15-9] so hopefully we can keep that tradition going."
"We’re looking forward to this last pre-season game but at the end of the day, it's meant to prepare you for Week 1 of the season so that will be our main goal."
As many Giants fans are dreading their trip to Dallas for Monday night football, there are straws to clutch at; play can only get better, injuries will reduce....and if nothing else, every four years?
Not that Odell Beckham Jr is worried:
But as stated at the beginning of this piece; pre-season doesn't tell the entire story nor is it a barometer on how a team will fare in regular season.
So, is that a sigh of relief for Giants fans? Maybe, just look at pre-season clashes between the Giants and Jets in 2007 and 2011.
Bad rehearsal, great performance could just be what Big Blue holds onto.
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