EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — In the span of several minutes during Wednesday’s minicamp practice, the New York Giants received a glimpse of what they hope will be their not-so-distant future. The scenario would likely lead to a lot of victories in 2017.
The enticing dream situation unfolded in red zone drills with wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., back for his second practice after skipping organized team activities, making a sliding catch for a touchdown on a pass from Eli Manning in the left corner of the end zone. Several plays later, Brandon Marshall made a leaping catch over cornerback Valentino Blake in the right corner of the end zone. Marshall plucked the ball one-handed from over Blake’s back for his score.
It was vintage Beckham with the difficult sliding grab. It was vintage Marshall with the in-air magic.
These plays might have occurred during a rather meaningless spring practice, but it at least allows the Giants to head into their summer break dreaming of what might be this season, even if they were playing without first-round pick Evan Engram, who sat out with an injury. This is why they signed Marshall as a free agent this offseason. The 33-year-old was the ideal, big-bodied complement to the explosive Beckham and added a much-needed element to the offense. Marshall was what the Giants needed to build a more complete passing attack.
“It was nice to get everybody here and excited about where we’re at,” offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan said. “We have a lot of work to do, but we’re at a good point right now of where we want to be in terms of moving forward and getting ourselves ready for training camp.”
This was the right time for Beckham and Marshall to remind everyone about the possibilities. Wednesday was the Giants’ longest practice of the spring. They will run a glorified walk-through Thursday before leaving for their six-week summer break.
The next time they return as a group will be for the start of training camp in late July.
Beckham is expected to be there at the start. He missed all of voluntary OTAs before reporting for mandatory minicamp this week. After being eased in during a blistering spring day Tuesday, his workload increased Wednesday in his second practice. The results were encouraging.
“Odell looked great,” Sullivan said. “Happy that he’s here and excited about the possibilities moving forward.”
Just the thought of Beckham and Marshall playing opposite each other should keep the Giants delighted about the possibilities this offseason.
Other Day 2 minicamp notables:
• The Giants lined their tackles out wide with receivers staggered behind them on one play. Manning held the ball on what almost looked like a read-option with a three-man line and ran up the middle for a nice gain. It was, to the say the least, unexpected, and drew some oohs and ahhs from the offensive players.
• Strong day from rookie quarterback Davis Webb. He threw the ball consistently with velocity. He zipped one pass between two defenders in a red zone drill for a score. He threw another to the far sideline with impressive velocity. Webb then capped the drill with a dump-off in the middle of the field to tight end Colin Thompson for another touchdown. And Webb was confident and decisive in all of his decisions. Even when he did get forced to hold the ball and roll out right later in practice, he threw a bullet across his body in the back of the end zone to wide receiver Jerome Lane. It was an impressive showing.
• Safety Darian Thompson and cornerback Eli Apple missed a second consecutive day with illnesses. Tight end Engram, guard Justin Pugh, wide receiver Kevin Snead, defensive back Mykkele Thompson and tight end Rhett Ellison all sat out with injuries. The Giants have described just about every injury this offseason as soreness. Pugh said Wednesday the soreness was in his back.