August 10, 2016

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) While Odell Beckham Jr. probably must wait at least another week to play in a game with Victor Cruz, the thought of being on the same field with him and rookie Sterling Shepard is exciting.

If all three can play, the Giants' passing game has the potential to be very special.

There is no doubt Beckham will continue to draw the double coverages, but that should help Cruz and Shepard, and make things a little easier for Eli Manning.

Cruz, who missed all of last season with a calf injury, did not work Wednesday as the Giants held their final practice before Friday's preseason opener against the Miami Dolphins at MetLife Stadium.

Coach Ben McAdoo was not available to update Cruz's status after practice, and offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan would not comment on his status.

Beckham is ready, though, and so is Shepard, the second-round draft pick listed as a starter on the depth chart for the game.

''You put two people on me and you have one on one with them and I would take them one on one pretty much against anyone out there, so it's going to be a lot of fun,'' Beckham said after practice.

Beckham has had almost nothing but fun since joining the Giants two years ago. Despite missing the first four games in his rookie season with a hamstring injury, the flamboyant wide receiver has 187 catches for 2,755 yards and 25 touchdowns, including that memorable one-hander against Dallas as a rookie.

This year has even more promise. The defense has been shored up via free agency, and the offense seemingly has some people who can complement Beckham. The six games the Giants lost in the final quarter and overtime in 2015 might now be winnable.

''I do feel as if this team is working harder, I feel as if we have a better chance at definitely being better than 6-10, and that's obviously the goal,'' Beckham said. ''One game at a time. You want to be playing on February 5 in Houston.''

After resting in the offseason, Beckham hopes to be more patient this year. He wants to run his routes better and be there for the new guys when they need help.

''Year in and year out, there is going to be something that I find to improve on and get better on,'' Beckham said. ''No matter what I do the year before, it's always going to be what can I do to be better than last year?''

Sullivan called Beckham a special talent.

''I think when you are at practice, you guys witness, but mostly the fans or people who don't have the chance to come and see, how hard the guy works,'' Sullivan told reporters. ''He really loves practice, he loves to compete, and he loves to play and work, and we continue to try to push him in terms of expanding his versatility.''

Neither Beckham nor Sullivan is worried about Cruz's latest injury. He was limited to six games in 2014 by a knee injury and lost all of last year with the calf problem.

''I keep reminding him that his first game is Sept. 11, even though you have to get your feet wet in the preseason,'' Beckham said of Cruz. ''Again, I hate saying that, but it's irrelevant. You could go for 200 yards and none of it is going to matter. You could go for zero yards and none of it is going to matter. All that matters is that you're prepared for Week 1.''

Beckham is ready now.

NOTES: PK Josh Brown kicked roughly a 63-yard field goal in the rain in practice. ... McAdoo did something different than former coach Tom Coughlin in practice Wednesday. He kept the team on the field when it started raining. Coughlin moved practices indoors. ...DE Kerry Wynn (groin) missed his first practice of camp, and linebacker Keenan Robinson (groin) missed his second in a row.


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