Odell Beckham Jr, the Savior


Dominant. Electrifying. Promising.

These words can be used to describe the impact that New York Giants’ wide receiver and Offensive Rookie of the Year Odell Beckham Jr. had not only on the football field, but also on the hearts of Giants fans across the nation.

After missing the entire preseason, Beckham showed no signs of rust. First emerging in Week 5 against the Atlanta Falcons to make his long awaited NFL debut, he made an immediate impact on the field and caught a TD. He routinely had Giants fans on the edge of their seats with his scintillating performances.

Finishing up the season with 91 receptions, 1305 receiving yards, and 12 touchdowns in only 12 games, Beckham’s dominance cannot be argued.

Nov 23, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham (13) pulls in touchdown pass against the Dallas Cowboys during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim O

He brought rejuvenation to a team that lacked energy early on, and his impact on and off the field was unparalleled. His early highlights, namely “The Catch”, garnered attention worldwide, and brought his name to the forefront of sports. Top athletes from across professional sports such as LeBron James and Michael Jordan, became fans of his and recognized his potential.

However, is Beckham’s emergence due wholly to skill, or is a large part of it due to luck?

Usually in the NFL, players who miss training camp and the preseason end up dropping in the depth chart. Tom Coughlin is also well-known for his reluctance to insert rookies in the lineup, unless they perform on special teams first. What made Odell Beckham Jr the exception?

Well, a large part of it was the Giants’ glaring need for wide receivers after facing the injury bug. After Jerrel Jernigan, a rising player towards the end of last season, suffered a season ending injury, the Giants were already down one receiver. Luckily for them, they had drafted Odell Beckham Jr with the 12th pick in this year’s draft — yet his hamstring issue kept him sidelined through camp and preseason. However, when he recovered, he came into the Falcons game and caught a touchdown.

Injuries & lack of production plagued the Giants WR core early on

He was not yet at the top of the pecking order, but Rueben Randle’s lack of production early on and Victor Cruz’s devastating injury a week later changed everything. The Giants’ primary receiver was done for the season and this left their first round pick Beckham in the right place at the right time. Desperately needing consistent wide receiver production, Beckham’s number was called, and fortunately he picked up.

Thrust into the number one role, he realized that this was his opportunity to step up and he did. We may not fully know why Corey Washington was not considered after a stellar preseason, but regardless, Beckham happened to be a potent receiver in the right situation. Quickly becoming Eli Manning’s favorite target, Beckham had a spectacular rookie season and was an exception to Coughlin’s age old philosophy.

Jan 31, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; AP Offensive Rookie of the Year, New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. poses at the 4th annual NFL Honors at Symphony Hall. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Odell Beckham Jr. was not only the savior to the Giants offense this season, but also saved Tom Coughlin and Ben McAdoo’s jobs for at least one more year.

After the embarrassing loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 13, frustration of the 2014 season was at an all-time high. Owner John Mara admitted that he (briefly) considered firing everyone at that point, and it surely seemed like the Giants hit rock bottom: they blew a 21 point lead on one of the worst teams in the NFL. This may have been the lowest point of the season, but it was not the turning point; the turning point was two weeks earlier in Week 11, against the San Francisco 49ers.

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In position to win the game, Ben McAdoo, the new offensive coordinator, called three consecutive fade routes, none of which was successful. In a game that may have included the worst play-calling sequence of all-time, the Giants failed to execute down the stretch and wound up losing the game. Despite Eli’s 5 interceptions, the Giants were in position to win the game at several points but could not do so. Following this game, Giants fans knew that this season would be a lost cause, and many of them wanted to get rid of McAdoo.

Nonetheless, even after Weeks 11 and 13, no one was fired, and the staff was given a chance to finish the season. Lost in the uproar of these horrible losses was the continued success of Odell Beckham Jr, who still had at least 90 yards receiving in both of these games. The final 4 weeks cemented his great rookie season and eventually earned him a spot in the Pro Bowl. Most importantly, it gave Giants fans some time to calm down and move on from the two worst games of the season.

7-9 is certainly not an acceptable record in New York, but in spite of the lowly lows, Tom Coughlin and Ben McAdoo were spared (though DC Perry Fewell wasn’t). Beckham Jr’s consistency and emergence gave the Giants a new hope to their future. Just the thought of having Victor Cruz and Odell Beckham lined up together next season makes Giants fans salivate at what could have been in this season.

The future is bright, and that can largely be attributed to Beckham. People now are anointing Ben McAdoo as the heir apparent to Tom Coughlin, which is something fans would have laughed at following Week 11.

How did this come to be?

Five words: Odell Beckham Jr, the Savior.

Next: Odell Beckham Jr Outshines Other Stars in Pro Bowl