Beckham, Manningham making progress

June, 18, 2014
Jun 18
4:00
PM ET
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Mario Manningham both gave New York Giants fans a reason to be excited on Wednesday.

Beckham got his first live reps after being held out during organized team activities and the first day of the Giants' three-day minicamp this week. Manningham isn't practicing with the team yet, but told reporters he expects to be the same player he was, once he's 100 percent healthy.

The Giants are counting on at least one, and maybe both, to be significant contributors this season.

Beckham, the team's first-round draft pick last month, has been limited this spring by a sore hamstring. He sat out entirely the past couple of weeks, and only participated in position drills Tuesday. But the Giants finally threw him into the fire Wednesday, inserting him into 11-on-11 action.

His first couple reps came with Eli Manning and the rest of the starters, with Manning misfiring in Beckham's direction on one play.

Later on, Beckham was back on the field -- this time exclusively with the second unit -- for several more plays, including a touchdown catch in a red zone situation.

"I felt good," Beckham said. "I felt a little tight during the beginning of practice. ... I got loose towards the end of practice, was able to open up a little bit."

The touchdown came against reserves, but Beckham made a very sharp cut to the inside and was wide open in the end zone, making it easy for backup quarterback Ryan Nassib.

And we haven't seen the real Beckham yet, according to the rookie. "No, definitely not top-speed right now," he said. "But it’s getting up there. It’s about 85 [percent], somewhere around there."

Manningham did some running as well Wednesday, but on an adjoining field, under the watchful eyes of the Giants' training staff. He is still working his way back from the torn ACL and PCL he suffered with the San Francisco 49ers in Dec. 2012.

Yes, Manningham played in six games for the 49ers in 2013. But it turned out he hadn't fully recovered -- Manningham had just nine receptions for 85 yards, wound up back on injured reserve last December, and had his knee scoped again in January.

The Giants signed Manningham to a one-year, $795,000 contract in March, hoping the 28-year-old can regain the form he displayed in his first stint with the team, from 2008 to 2011 -- including that 38-yard fourth-quarter catch in Super Bowl XLVI that no Giants fan will ever forget.

He didn't make nearly as big an impact in San Francisco, but did have 42 catches for 449 yards in 2012 before suffering the knee injury. "They were a better team with him on the field, believe me," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. "Two years ago, before he got hurt, he made a big difference with them."

Manningham said Wednesday that he believes he can still be the player he once was with the Giants.

"I know I'm gonna be all right when [training] camp starts," Manningham said. "Just trying to build the confidence back, [and] every day and every week it gets better."

He'll always be remembered for his Super Bowl catch, but don't forget, Manningham had 60 receptions for 944 yards and nine touchdowns in 2010.

If he can give the Giants even half of that in 2014, and if Beckham plays like a first-round pick, this offense could be very difficult to stop.
Kieran Darcy is an ESPNNewYork.com staff writer. He joined ESPN in August 2000 after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, where he played four years of JV basketball.
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