New York Giants: Time for Other Receivers to Shine in Absence of Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz
When it comes to off-season organized team activities, or OTAs, New York Giants fans would like to see Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz participating and developing a rapport with Eli Manning so that the Giants offense can hit the ground running. While it is not ideal that Nicks and Cruz are absent for their second straight OTA, it does come with benefits.
Free agent signee Louis Murphy has been taking advantage of the absence of Nicks and Cruz and has impressed the Giants’ coaching staff with his ability to get deep and stretch the defense. He has been developing good chemistry with Eli Manning. Had Nicks and Cruz been present they would have taken the majority of snaps as they should as the team’s top two receivers. However, with them out it gives Manning the chance to see what his other receivers can do and work with them in more realistic settings.
Murphy, Rueben Randle, Ramses Barden and Jerrel Jernigan are all going to see more time and will all be able to make an impression on the coaching staff as the Giants get ready for training camp in July. They will get the reps that would have gone to Cruz and Nicks.
While it is troublesome that Nicks and Cruz are not participating, it is not the end of the world. The Giants know what they have in those two. It is in Murphy, Randle, Barden and Jernigan that the Giants need to see something, especially in Murphy and Randle.
Randle was the Giants’ second round pick last season and started to show a return on the potential the Giants saw towards the end of last season. The Giants would like to see Randle continue to make strides this off-season and in training camp, especially given the uncertain futures of Nicks and Cruz who are scheduled to hit the free agent market after this season. While the Giants would like to see Nicks and Cruz both return it is still a likelihood that one of them is gone, a casualty of the NFL’s salary cap restrictions.
Nicks and Cruz should be back for training camp at the latest. When they do come back the number of chances the rest of the receiving corps sees will go down. Now is the time for everyone else to step up and make the impression they need to on the coaching staff.