Odell Beckham is without question one of the league’s most exciting wide receivers. But he is now showing glimpses of being a breakout performer on special teams, something that was a part of his repertoire as a rookie and appears to be needed by the New York Giants once again.
On Sunday, Beckham returned four punts for the Giants, including one that he took into the endzone that was called back for a penalty by one of his teammates. He is showing some serious flashes of big-play potential, not a total shock given how he produces at wide receiver and that two years ago in his first season in the NFL, he put up some solid numbers on punt return. It is rare to see an All-Pro returning punts, risking injury but there is Beckham back there trying to make some plays.
As Sunday showed, he’s back it again and showing some flashes..
“Hopefully we get another chance to run some back. It’s something I’ve been doing pretty much all my life. I’ve done punt return and kick return. It’s just what it is. It’s just another opportunity. They punt it and that ball is going straight to you,” Beckham said this week.
“Your teammates are out there making the blocks. You just have to make cuts off of them. I think it gets you going on offense. You get an opportunity to catch a ball and put one in your hands. Run, hopefully you don’t get hit but you get an opportunity to get tackled. It’s a lot of fun. It’s something that I do enjoy. Hopefully I can help this team out in that way or whatever way I can.”
Beckham will continue to be a punt returner despite a recent thumb injury that is causing him excruciating pain at times, including an episode he detailed from this past Sunday where a would-be tackler attempted to rip the ball away and instead got his thumb. Not fun.
“Not really much you could do at this point in time. You have to just play with it. It happened to me in college and high school. I think in a sense it doesn’t really hurt me because now I have to focus more on catching the ball,” Beckham said. “I have to really lock in and focus on where I’m placing my hands. I’ve kind of noticed it. Actually, almost may be able to catch it better than what it is. It allows me to lock into another focus.”