Beckham Jr. carries on without 'big bro' Cruz

Victor Cruz was an influential mentor for wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. during his first few months in the NFL and now with the veteran sidelined due to a gruesome knee injury, Beckham is ready to step up his play.

Odell Beckham, Jr. has gone from 0 to 60 in the course of less than two weeks. The Giants have been nothing if not cautious about their first-round pick’s hamstring injury, holding him out until they were absolutely sure he was back. Now, though, after Victor Cruz’s season went up in smoke in Philadelphia on Sunday night, Beckham has gone from a question mark full of potential to arguably the Giants’ top offensive weapon. It’s an adjustment he’s had to make on the fly.

“As hard as it is, you just have to try and move on,” Beckham said Wednesday. “I definitely feel more comfortable with where I’m at now as far as the playbook and getting my body underneath me, and we all have to step up and we all have to play better, especially coming off of last week.”

It’s been a challenge just to keep his mind on preparing for Dallas, as Cruz underwent surgery to repair his torn patellar tendon on Monday. Cruz was the elder statesmen for a very young group of receivers, a group that now has to grow up fast on national television.

“It’s tough to fill that role that he played,” Beckham said. “Not just what he did on the field but off the field, his presence. It’s just tough because the guy that it happened to is a guy that’s looked after me since day one, since I got here.”

But the season isn’t stopping, and the Giants find themselves facing a huge game in Dallas on Sunday afternoon — one that could decide whether or not they’re true contenders in the NFC East. New York needs to come up with answers, or all the good will from the past few weeks will be a distant memory. The Giants signed Kevin Ogletree, and will look to Preston Parker to help out in the slot, but there’s no one on the roster who can come close to Cruz’s playmaking ability — no one except, maybe, Beckham.

“We’ve got to come out and prepare hard this week and have got to play hard against Dallas,” he said. “As sad as it is, it’s the nature of the game. Now us as receivers have to step up, really make him proud and try to fill his role.”

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