EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — For the New York Giants, there is no replacing Odell Beckham Jr.
Somebody will start for the suspended Pro Bowl wide receiver on Sunday night in Minnesota, but that’s about it.
Beckham is the biggest weapon on the Giants’ offense. He has 91 catches for 1,396 yards and 13 touchdowns, and no one on the roster can come close to doing what he does. He draws double coverages, has breakaway potential and causes opposing defenses to know where he is on every play.
Beckham makes playing easier for all his teammates. Against the Vikings, they will be on their own in a game that still could have playoff implications.
New York (6-8) will be eliminated if Washington (7-7) beats Philadelphia (6-8) on Saturday night. If the Eagles win, the Giants will have a shot at winning the NFC East if they can win their last two games.
“I think around here it’s always been the next guy steps up,” cornerback Prince Amukamara said of his concern with Beckham out. “It’s hard to fill a guy like Odell’s shoes, but I think the guys can get it done.”
Rueben Randle is the logical choice to take more responsibility. However, he has battled knee issues all season and his 51 catches for 638 yards and six touchdowns are disappointing.
Randle insists this will be like any other game.
“My job is to go out there and make some plays, and that’s how I see it,” the fourth-year receiver said. “I’m not going to try to change up anything. I know a lot of responsibility holds on this receiver corps with him being out, so we have to make sure we are on the same page and know what we are going and be ready to have a big game.”
Quarterback Eli Manning will have other options besides Randle.
Dwayne Harris has shown flashes, catching 35 catches and four touchdowns. He has been bothered by a shoulder injury, but said he was feeling better Thursday. He was limited at practice.
Veteran Hakeem Nicks also has a lot of experience, but the 2009 first-round pick hasn’t done much since rejoining the team four games ago. He has four catches for 26 yards.
“Anytime opportunity comes you want to take full advantage of it, that’s how I look at it,” Nicks said. “This is a great opportunity for me. I was always told when opportunity knocks on the door, you’ve got to answer. I’m answering.”
Manning’s other options will be tight end Will Tye (34 catches for 369 yards), running back Shane Vereen (51 catches for 402 yards) and backup wideouts Myles White, rookie Geremy Davis and Ben Edwards, who was promoted from the practice squad on Thursday.
“We’ll be fine,” Manning said. “We’ve got guys, great opportunity for other guys to step up. We’ll run our offense and go about our business. The guys know what they’re doing, guys know the routes, guys know how to get open and we’ll go about it and make plays.”
Coach Tom Coughlin talked to his team Thursday about playing without Beckham, telling them this is a chance to bond.
“Our team has got to step up,” Coughlin said. “I think it’s about our team to be able to now come together and play, hopefully, our best game. Certainly many, many people are going to have to be called upon.”
NOTES: Left tackle Ereck Flowers did not practice Thursday because of an illness. … Running back Orleans Darkwa (illness) and defensive end George Selvie (concussion) practiced on a full-time basis after being limited the day before. ….The forecast for Sunday night has temperatures dipping below 10 degrees. It was 70 in New Jersey on Christmas eve.
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