NFL Monday preview: All eyes on the attention magnet, OBJ

Odell Beckham Jr. to make his Rams debut against the 49ers

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This week’s Monday Night Football matchup is a dream game for Odell Beckham Jr.

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Why? Because the newly signed Los Angeles Rams wide receiver lives for the spotlight, because everyone’s been aiming one at him for the past week, and all eyes will be trained on him when he’s on the field when he makes his Rams debut against the host San Francisco 49ers (8:15 p.m. EST, TSN via ESPN).

Why all the hubbub about “OBJ”?

First, because the Cleveland Browns last Monday ate millions of dollars to be rid of the under-performing, unhappy prima donna.

Secondly, because once he cleared waivers, unclaimed, on Tuesday afternoon, Beckham sat back, entertained offers from a few traditional playoff heavyweights and, finally on Thursday night, put in with the Rams.

L.A. signed Beckham ostensibly as it’s No. 3 wideout, after Cooper Kupp (who leads the NFL both in catches and receiving yards) and Robert Woods. But wouldn’t ya know it, at Beckham’s first Rams practice on Friday, Woods tore an ACL and is done for the season.

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Reports on the weekend suggested Beckham not only might return punts on his fourth full day as a Ram — something he has practised in the pros since his first training camp as a rookie with the New York Giants in 2014 — but head coach and chief offensive strategist Sean McVay has a package of offensive plays for Beckham already.

Officially, McVay on Saturday would only say “there’s a chance” OBJ will play against the Niners.

“You can see he’s a really sharp guy,” McVay said. “I like the look in his eye, and we’ll see how he’s feeling, and we’ll see what that looks like as far as how we are able to utilize him — if he’s able to go on Monday.”

Woods, like Kupp, long has been lauded by McVay, other Rams coaches and teammates for his tenacious, selfless abilities as a blocker up field on running plays. Can Beckham similarly contribute?
“He’s a great football player that can do a little bit of everything,” McVay said. “We’re just going to take it a little bit at a time. There are a lot of things that we’re working through.”

Meantime, another big-buzz recent Rams acquisition — former Denver rush linebacker Von Miller — is not expected to play Monday night, as the ankle he injured shortly before the Nov. 2 trade still is not healed.


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