EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Odell Beckham Jr. put on a show on the second day of training camp for the New York Giants, and no one may have enjoyed it more than fellow receiver Brandon Marshall.
Signed by the Giants as a free agent in the offseason, the 33-year-old Marshall gives quarterback Eli Manning another option on the outside of the offense other than Beckham.
The Giants used Victor Cruz there last season, but he just didn’t have the speed and size to play on the outside and was released after the season.
At 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds, Marshall is a big target. He is a guy who has caught a 100 passes in a season and someone who has to be watched by opponents.
He also is going to benefit playing with Beckham, one of the most dynamic receivers in the league.
Saturday was show time for the 24-year-old Beckham. Coming a day after he reiterated his desire to be the NFL’s highest-paid player, Beckham sprinted across the field to catch a long touchdown pass from Eli Manning early in the 11-on-11 drills. He also made a diving catch near the sidelined and later caught a pass and raced up the sideline.
“That’s why I came here, because of him,” Marshall said when asked about Beckham’s performance. “I’m tired of getting double coverage and vised in the red zone. I’ll let him freakin’ carry all the weight.”
Marshall can carry his own weight. Just before Beckham went long, Marshall outjumped cornerback Janoris Jenkins on a go-pattern up the left sideline in 7-on-7 drills and came down the pass.
“It was nice to see on the first play of training camp, he gets a ball thrown to him and makes a nice play,” coach Ben McAdoo said. “There’s going to be a learning curve there, there will be some ups and downs like there are. But Brandon’s played a lot of football, and we’re confident that he’ll come a long way fast. He’s a tremendous communicator.”
Marshall said there was some learning Saturday. He ran a crossing pattern and could not control Manning’s pass. He was upset with himself but he noted that when he was with the Jets last season, the receivers would settle into the zone on crossing patterns and the quarterbacks would find them.
That doesn’t work with Manning.
“What I did wasn’t wrong if it was a different offense,” Marshall said. “I throttled in the zone and Eli wants you to run through it. So, it wasn’t like I slowed down but if I (sped) through that first hole, I would’ve caught the ball. So literally, I was like a foot away from making a big play for the team, but I missed it because of that timing. So now, I got it and I won’t make that mistake again.”
While most expect Marshall to be the Giants’ No. 2 receiver this season, the 12-year-veteran admits he wants to ball, too.
“I’m not going to sit here and lie to you guys about that,” Marshall said. “As a receiver, that’s what makes us great, but that’s also what holds us back. You have to be able to check your ego. It’s definitely about winning, but at the same time, guys want to perform as well. I’ve been there, done that. I’ve had 100 catches several times, done some amazing things, went to some Pro Bowls. The only thing that I haven’t checked off is being able to earn one of those Lombardi trophies.”
Coming off an 11-6 season and their first playoff berth since the 2011 season, the Giants have upgraded their anemic offense with the signing of Marshall and the selection of speedy tight end Evan Engram in the first round of the draft. Add in Manning, Beckham and second-year receiver Sterling Shepard and New York could be potent this season.
“In the NFL, you have to have at least three cornerbacks, but you might need five to cover those guys,” Jenkins said.