It's not every day that pre-game warm-up routines become a major part of the lead-up to an NFL game, but that is what is happening this week. The New York Giants will head to South Florida to face the Miami Dolphins on a Monday Night Football meeting between two 5-7 teams. Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. has received attention since joining the league for his one-handed catch warm-up routine each week, and now, he could have competition in Miami's Jarvis Landry.
The two receivers were teammates at LSU in college, and were both selected in the 2014 NFL Draft. They both have nothing but great things to say about the other, consider themselves brothers, and talk about how the other taught them to be a better wide out. They also like to amaze with the one-handed catches.
"I'm looking forward to it a lot," Landry told the New York media on Wednesday when asked about competing against Beckham this week. "It's actually the first time taking the field on opposite sides. Having an opportunity to witness it first hand as I did, but as an opponent this time. I'm also his biggest fan on the opposite sidelines. At the same time, as much success that I want him to have, I just hope we get the W."
"It's hard to describe it," Beckham told the Miami media in a similar conference call. "It's not just typical receiver competitiveness, where you're really comparing the numbers. I just want to see him be the greatest receiver of all time, and I think it's the same for him with me. We're going to push each other to be the best we possibly can. I've definitely been so happy just to be able to see all the hard work and things that we were doing pay off."
The two met during high school, attending a Louisiana football camp together. They immediately connected as friends, and, eventually, teammates. "I think it was junior year of high school, but since the minute we met, there was something about us that just, I don't know how to describe it," Beckham explained. "We just knew immediately what the relationship was and what the connection was and we just went from there. It went from me driving down on the weekends to spend the weekend with him and him coming to New Orleans. Whatever the case may be, it's definitely been a wonderful relationship."
During college, the two receivers became stars, both during games and in practices, where they were constantly working to get better at catching passes. They also became "brothers" as they both described the other on Wednesday.
"I tell you what, there's a tape that (LSU Running Backs Coach) Coach Frank Wilson at LSU has and I've been trying to get my hands on it," Landry said of their time at LSU. "I had a copy, but I misplaced it and there's literally every catch that we've ever made. It's called the ‘Freak Catch Tape' and I think the most amazing catches that I've ever seen him make was, I wouldn't say it was behind his head, but behind his head basically. It's crazy to even really talk about it, it's hard to even explain."
"It’s one of those tapes that it’ll tell a story just from watching it," Beckham said when asked bout the tape."
Landry attempted to explain the catch, which he said happened in practice, "It was actually from the 30-yard line going in, almost similar to the Dallas game, but way more freakier."
Beckham exploded into national attention in 2013 when he caught a pass behind his head with three fingers against the Dallas Cowboys. Since then, remarkable catches have become the norm for Beckham, with television cameras constantly trying to find him, even during warm-ups. Beckham's habit during pre-game is to work on one handed catches from every conceivable angle.
"To me and a couple of other people we see him do these things all of the time, but on a regular basis," Landry said of Beckham. "There's more left in there and he'll bring it out when it's necessary."
When asked where he started working on his one-handed grabs, Beckham has previously said it was thanks to Landry.
"We had our fair share of crazy catches," Beckham said of he and Landry. "I mean, he had two one-hand catches back-to-back years against Arkansas, two ridiculous catches. In practice, I mean, words really don't do it justice. I can't even sit here and try to give you a good enough picture. It's something that you just have to see, the things he was doing as far as being able to catch the ball."
Landry and Beckham talk nearly every day, including in a group text conversation that includes another former LSU teammate, Cincinnati Bengals running back Jeremy Hill. The Dolphins' wide out was asked if he and Beckham grade the other's receptions. "Yeah, now that we kind of make those catches on the regular and especially with how he's been doing lately, it's kind of like ‘Oh, that one wasn't as good as that one and that one wasn't as good as that one and that one was a little bit smoother.' We kind of give each other a little crap about it, but at the same time it's never a dull moment with acknowledging that one of us made a play."
Which brings us to Monday night, where the television cameras could have plenty to keep their attention during the pre-game warm-ups. Before the season, there was talk about the two potentially trying to put on a receiving show in pre-game. "We're thinking about it, we're thinking about it," Landry said when asked about those rumors. "We'll get together earlier that day before pregame and we'll put something together."
Television and the fans in the stands may not be the only people watching the Beckham-Landry show. "Since you guys brought it up, if I'm out there and they start doing it I probably will watch a little bit," Miami interim head coach Dan Campbell replied when asked about the potential pre-game show during his own conference call with the New York media. "That's not what I would go out pregame for, but I will say this, I know what Beckham is capable of and I've seen Juice (Landry) daily and I'll tell you what, the ability those guys have, hand-eye coordination, being able to catch with the right hand or left hand, catch it backhanded or flip your hand backwards to catch the ball. It's pretty amazing what they're capable of. There's a reason why they're both two of the top receivers in this league."
Warm-ups are usually something that goes on in the background as television networks shoot live pre-game coverage for the game. This Monday, it sounds like there's a potential that the warm-up of two second year wide receivers could be the main pre-game entertainment.