Beck­ham Jr. hope­ful Giants can run the ta­ble

The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT) - - SPORTS -

EAST RUTHER­FORD, N.J. — Call Odell Beck­ham Jr. the eter­nal op­ti­mist.

When the New York Giants’ flashy wide re­ceiver was asked Fri­day what he hoped his 1-7 team would do for the re­main­der of the sea­son, Beck­ham didn’t pull any punches.

“I think the goal is to win eight games, go 9-7 and go to the play­offs,” Beck­ham said.

Even though no NFL team has ever pulled off such a come­back?

“It’s not an easy task,” Beck­ham added. “But that’s the goal. We want to win ev­ery game and I want to do every­thing I can to help that. The Giants have been there be­fore, gone 9-7 and got into the play­offs. Any­thing is pos­si­ble. It’s not im­pos­si­ble to win eight games. It wasn’t im­pos­si­ble to lose seven. Any­thing can hap­pen.”

Beck­ham re­mained up­beat as his team pre­pared to face the San Fran­cisco 49ers in Santa Clara, Cal­i­for­nia on Mon­day night. He was cer­tain his team is ready to turn it around, al­beit in mirac­u­lous fash­ion — pro­vided the Giants do a bet­ter job of scor­ing touch­downs.

“We’ve lost a lot of close games that we just didn’t pull through,” Beck­ham said. “We know what sit­u­a­tions we’re in when we are in those close games. We just haven’t found a way to pull them through. It’s easy to sit up here and be like we want to win eight games know­ing that it’s very tough to do. You just got to pull it all to­gether now.

“I know we’re not in a very good sit­u­a­tion, but you just got to make the most out of that.”

Beck­ham signed a five-year, $95 mil­lion con­tract, with ap­prox­i­mately $65 mil­lion guar­an­teed, dur­ing train­ing camp in Au­gust, so he’s the new face of the fran­chise mov­ing for­ward. He was asked if he felt he had any pres­sure to be the one who kick-starts the of­fense.

“Not any more than I ever have,” said Beck­ham, who has caught 61 passes for 785 yards and two touch­downs this sea­son. “Hope­fully I can start catch­ing some of th­ese things and start tak­ing them to the crib, mak­ing big­ger plays. I put more on my­self.

What­ever hap­pens is what’s go­ing to hap­pen, but I know that my men­tal­ity is not go­ing to be to quit. I’m not go­ing to be out there not try­ing to go hard ev­ery play. Any chance that I get, that’s just al­ways how I’m go­ing to be.”

Beck­ham was also asked if the Giants could elim­i­nate some prob­lems in scor­ing touch­downs once they get in­side the op­po­nent’s 20-yard line.

“I think that any chance I get, and all of us get a chance to take some­thing to the house, it’s time to go,” he said. “There’s no more hold­ing back, play­ing it safe, or wait­ing for the next play, be­cause you don’t know if you’re go­ing to have a next play, and that’s just the men­tal­ity we have to take. Any chance I get now, and I catch one of th­ese slants, there’s no mo­tion wasted. It’s just got to be some­body has got to come catch me. You trust your train­ing, you trust your speed — some­body has got to come catch me. I’m try­ing as much as I can to make th­ese plays, ex­plo­sive plays, and we all need to do that.”

Fel­low wide­out Ster­ling Shep­ard also rec­og­nizes his team’s strug­gles in the red zone.

“Ex­plo­sive plays are al­ways good them­selves, but if you can take them all the way, then that ob­vi­ously is bet­ter for the team,” said Shep­ard, who has 40 re­cep­tions for 542 yards and two touch­downs. “You just take them as they come and some of them will pop, some of them won’t, but an ex­plo­sive play all around is good for the team. I think it’s we’re just not be­ing as­sign­ment sound. I feel like one guy is al­ways off or two guys off when we get into the red zone, and that can kill your chances of scor­ing.”

Beck­ham Jr. is be­fud­dled why the Giants aren’t scor­ing more.

“Not to say that the op­por­tu­ni­ties haven’t been there, but they’ve been lim­ited,” he noted.

But Beck­ham feels the tide is about to turn for him per­son­ally.

“I don’t know, but to­wards the back end of the sea­son, I feel like I do bet­ter,” Beck­ham said. “As the sea­son goes on, peo­ple’s bod­ies start to break down. I re­ally try to main­tain and I re­ally try to be bet­ter than I was in Week 1 or Week 10. I feel a lot stronger go­ing in to­wards the back end of the sea­son. I feel like I’m in the best shape of my life. Now, it’s just time to do that.”

NOTES: Com­ing off a bye, the Giants had a full team at prac­tice Fri­day. WR Jaw­ill Davis (con­cus­sion), who had been out, re­turned to prac­tice, so he will more than likely be the Giants’ main re­turn op­tion on punts and kick­offs Mon­day. Start­ing LB Alec Ogle­tree (ham­string) re­turned to prac­tice, as did OT Chad Wheeler (an­kle).

Brad Pen­ner / As­so­ci­ated Press

New York Giants wide re­ceiver Odell Beck­ham Jr., above, be­lieves that the team can still make the play­offs.

Brad Pen­ner / As­so­ci­ated Press

Wide re­ceiver Ster­ling Shep­ard thinks that ex­plo­sive plays are great, but get­ting to the end zone is bet­ter.

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