EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- It looks like Eli Manning will have a new weapon to throw to this coming Sunday.
Rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who missed the New York Giants’ first four games of the season because of a hamstring injury, practiced Wednesday, and it sounds like he’ll play against the Atlanta Falcons.
“I feel good,” Beckham said, flashing a big smile. “Just looking forward to that opportunity, and getting a chance to finally run out on the field.”
Beckham was officially listed as limited, but said he did everything. Prior to practice, Giants coach Tom Coughlin said Beckham will be part of the game plan this week.
“We’re in that phase,” Coughlin said. “What we obviously need to do is to see some hard back-to-back practices, one after the other, which I expect we’ll accomplish this week.”
The Giants’ offense, under new coordinator Ben McAdoo, has looked better as the season has progressed, scoring a combined 75 points in consecutive wins over the Houston Texans and Washington Redskins.
But there is room for improvement -- the Giants are ranked 16th in the league, right smack in the middle, in both rushing yards (120.3) and passing yards (231.3) per game.
Manning is sixth in the NFL in Total QBR, and third in completion percentage for passes thrown 10 yards or fewer (76.8). But he has completed just two passes of more than 20 yards.
“I hope that he can be a big weapon for us,” Manning said of Beckham. “He definitely has a little burst of energy, a burst of speed. He can be a deep threat, can win on some underneath stuff. Can get him hopefully throwing some short passes and he can break it for some big plays. We’ve got to just keeping working. “
Fellow wide receiver Victor Cruz said Beckham has “a ton of ability.” Beckham caught a touchdown pass late in practice Wednesday, on a deep post route.
“We just need more of that -- we need more plays like that to be able to keep defenses honest,” Cruz said. “I think Odell can provide that, I think Rueben [Randle] as well can provide that, and it’s just a matter of us hitting our spots.”
The Giants will be facing one of the worst defenses in the league statistically on Sunday. The Falcons are ranked 30th in opponent passing yards per game (276.3), and 28th in opponent rushing yards (153.5).
If Beckham does play, you might see a lot of him, despite all the missed practice time early in the year.
“He’s been in every meeting. I would expect him to know everything,” Coughlin said. “I wouldn’t shy away from that. He’s demonstrated an ability to handle whatever’s thrown at him, he’s done that throughout.”
With Beckham back, the Giants are a remarkably healthy team a quarter of the way through the season. Not a single player on the active roster sat out practice Wednesday.