Odell Beckham Jr.’s status for Monday night remains very much in the air. He practiced for the first time this year on Thursday, but was listed as a limited participant. Beckham initially told reporters that the diagnosis for his injury included a 6-8 week recovery time, but later said that it may only take four weeks to recover from his ankle sprain.
Whether he gives it a go or not on Monday, the Detroit Lions say they’re prepared. “We prepare as if he’s going to play, bottom line,” Lions defensive coordinator Teyrl Austin said on Friday. “So there will be no surprises. If he shows up and plays, we’re going to be prepared for him.”
Last year, the Lions weren’t all that prepared for him. Already shorthanded due to the loss of Quandre Diggs, Darius Slay left the game against the Giants early due to a lingering hamstring issue. The Lions were forced to play Nevin Lawson, Asa Jackson and Johnson Bademosi as their three primary corners, and as a result, Beckham had a decent game. He caught six passes for 64 yards and the touchdown that put the game away late.
But this year, the Lions have a healthy set of defensive backs that held Larry Fitzgerald to just six catches on 13 targets last week. Lawson, Diggs and Slay combined for five passes defended against the Cardinals, while the safeties pitched in three interceptions.
Giants head coach Ben McAdoo said that Beckham “didn’t do much” in practice on Thursday, meaning there’s a realistic chance he doesn’t play on Monday, but Lions safety Glover Quin isn’t buying it. “It’s a Monday night game, home opener. You got to expect him to be out there in some capacity,” he told the Detroit Free Press.
Quin could be hinting at the Giants using Beckham more as a decoy on Monday. Many believe the Lions did something similar when Calvin Johnson was dealing with his myriad of injuries, putting him out there to simply occupy the defense’s best cornerback for the entire game.
If Beckham doesn’t play, the Giants’ No. 1 receiver will either be Sterling Shepard or Brandon Marshall. Shepard, who is more of a slot receiver, pulled in seven catches last week, but only turned them into 44 yards. Marshall didn’t make his first catch until the final 30 seconds of the game.
Beckham was on the practice field again on Friday, but we’ll have to wait until Monday night to see if he’s going to be in the lineup.