EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The circus, one-handed catches are again a regular occurrence for New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. this summer. It's hardly a surprise. It has become part of who Beckham is as a player ever since the memorable one-handed grab against the Dallas Cowboys his rookie season.
Sometimes -- like Monday during practice -- these unorthodox grabs are predetermined, but most are simply instinct.
“It’s really crazy. You’re running these deep routes, or any time the ball is coming to you, it’s a split second of decisions that can last a lifetime,” Beckham said. “I’m just working on catching everything that comes my way.”
It’s a sight to see when it works, which it does more often than not. It’s also part of what most Giants fans are hoping they’ll witness when they visit training camp.
If they were at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center on Sunday and Monday, they weren’t disappointed. They were treated to a pair of doozies.
Beckham made a leaping, one-handed catch on a deep ball thrown slightly behind him in during Sunday’s practice. And in one-on-one drills Monday, he made a leaping backwards, one-handed grab for a touchdown over Pro Bowl cornerback Janoris Jenkins.
It seems the next catch is always better than the one before.
“Honestly, [Monday] before any of it happened, I told them what I was going to do and it just happened. I feel like [Sunday] – I told the receivers in the room, I said, ‘I don’t know what happened, I just kind of clicked out.’ Like I said, I’m in a different place right now and [quarterback Eli Manning] threw the ball and I was like, ‘I’ve seen this before.’ It felt like it was like a dream.
“Just being able to have that confidence and come down with those plays. I try and bring a lot of energy to this team, especially to my wide receiver room.”
The players seemed to be in disbelief after the catch over Jenkins. Judging by the fans’ reaction, the oohs and ahhs, they were also impressed.
Coach Ben McAdoo may have been happy with the end result, but not necessarily the process.
“I like two hands on the ball better than one,” he said after Monday’s practice. “I like completions better than incompletions.”
Asked if this was his message to Beckham after Sunday’s spectacular grab, McAdoo made his feelings on the topic clear.
“See my last answer,” he said.
Beckham’s aware of the coaches’ desires. But sometimes it just … happens.
One of the reasons Beckham provided was that he often uses his off-hand to ward off defenders. He’s also noted in the past that it might be the only way he can haul in a throw based on its location.
“You’re supposed to catch the ball with two hands, obviously,” Beckham said. “I know that as well. Sometimes it just happens. If you catch it, hey, great play. But they’ll definitely still sit there and be like, ‘Use two hands.’”
Not always though. Beckham felt it might’ve been coming from his coaches Sunday, so he tried to avoid it, especially after the reception was negated by an earlier whistle signaling a sack.
“I don’t remember hearing [use two hands on Sunday],” Beckham said. “I think I jogged back slow, that way they can maybe forget about it and go to the next play. I’m not trying to teach the kids out here to use one hand. I was taught growing up to use two hands.”
But he’s seemingly perfected the one-handed grabs. He’s practiced it obsessively over the years.
At LSU, Beckham and Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry used to play a game that had them trying to one-up each other with new and improved ways to make one-handed catches. In the end, though, a one-handed catch in a game or practice is the same as a two-handed catch. It’s why Beckham says it doesn’t seem to matter to him if he’s making a spectacular or simple grab.
“Get the job done,” he said. “That is just where I’m at. Just get the job done however you can. If I have to fight, scrap for it, whatever I’ve got to do to come up with it, it’s gotta be mine. There is no other way to put it.”
But if he happens to make a spectacular one-handed grabs, his fans won't argue.