Allen Park — The Lions don’t know whether New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham will be playing Monday night, but they aren’t taking any chances in their preparation.
“We’re just going to assume that he’s going to play and that’s how we’d prepare,” Lions coach Jim Caldwell said. “Obviously, you can adjust from there, and that’s typically how we go about it. He’s a dynamic player. When he’s on the field, there’s no question about that he changes things.”
The Giants were without Beckham for their season-opening loss to the Cowboys last weekend, in which they scored just three points.
Asked what the Giants miss not having Beckham on the field, Giants coach Ben McAdoo didn’t hesitate.
“One of the best players in the league,” he said. “He’s a dynamic player, he draws a lot of coverage. He frees up some other players in the offense and makes it easier to run the ball just because of all the coverage that he does draw. But again, we play with him if he’s cleared and if not, we won’t.”
Beckham suffered his ankle injury in the Giants’ third preseason game, on a low hit from Cleveland Browns cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun. He returned to practice on Thursday, in a limited capacity, but it’s unknown whether he’ll be able to suit up against the Lions.
He told local reporters the injury could linger six to eight weeks. Even with Beckham's stated prognosis, the Lions aren’t taking any chances.
“It’s a Monday night game, home opener, you’ve got to expect him out there in some capacity,” safety Glover Quin said.
Since being drafted by the Giants in the first round of the 2014 draft, Beckham has been one of the NFL’s best receivers. He caught 91 passes and 12 touchdowns in 12 games as a rookie and hauled in 101 balls for 1,367 yards and 10 scores last year.
Beckham caught six passes for 64 yards and a touchdown against the Lions in 2016, doing his best work after cornerback Darius Slay left the game with an injury. Beckham also had a touchdown on a punt return called back because of a block-in-the-back penalty.
“He’s an explosive guy who can turn a short pass into a long touchdown,” Quin said. “He demands a different kind of attention because he’s so dynamic.”