The New York Giants have had their fair share of injuries all over the football field. One of the positions especially hard hit has been wide receiver.
Hakeem Nicks is still nursing a swollen knee. Ramses Barden suffered a concussion late last week against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Giants will most likely be entering the Week 5 matchup without two of their top four receivers.
This is where Rueben Randle will need to step up. So far, the Giants second-round pick has been buried on the depth chart behind Nicks, Victor Cruz, Domenik Hixon, and Barden. He has caught only one pass for four yards so far. He has struggled to grasp the complex offense that offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride uses and recently had his work ethic questioned by NBC’s Cris Collinsworth on “Sunday Night Football.”
Collinsworth’s comments were backed up this week by Eli Manning and Randle himself this week. Both admitted Randle has had trouble adjusting to the Giants offense, of reading defenses and adjusting his route accordingly. “Rueben’s just young and trying to figure out what it takes to compete and get mentally and physically ready for upcoming games,” Manning said. “He has talent. He’s been working better and has an understanding of just how we work and how we prepare each week.”
This week might be the true test for Randle. Can he contribute this week? Can he show the coaching staff that, at the very least, he is starting to understand the offense?
These are huge questions and they can only be answered by Randle himself on the football field. He doesn’t have to replace Nicks. He just has to show he is getting it and make some contribution. Nobody is expecting 100-yard games out of him, at least not yet. The Giants just want to see Randle show an improvement, something to build on.
Right now, the Giants are one injury away from asking Randle to become a major part of the offense. They are one injury away from asking Randle to be the number two guy. He has to show everyone he is making strides to be that guy if necessary.
It is time for Randle to start to step up.