New York Giants wide receiver Rueben Randle, a 2012 second-round draft pick, was a prime candidate for a breakout season a year ago. While he did take a big step forward, Randle’s 2013 campaign was decidedly underwhelming.
For the season, Randle collected 41 receptions for 611 receiving yards. His six touchdown catches led all New York receivers.
On the surface, it looks to be a very solid season for a second-year player and it certainly is respectable. However, the Giants had much bigger expectations for Randle, and lingering inconsistencies ended up stealing the show.
Randle caught five or more passes in a game just twice throughout the entire year. He also went six games with two catches or less and, in three of those games, Randle caught zero passes.
Inconsistencies from the wide receiving corps, with the exception of Victor Cruz, played a major role in the struggles from New York’s offense. Randle and Hakeem Nicks could not sustain splashes of strong play or cement themselves as reliable targets game in and game out.
There were too many instances where Randle and Eli Manning were simply not on the same page. They may not have even been in the same book.
On a given play, Randle would read a defense one way and Manning would see something else. On the throw, Randle would then have his back turned and not even see the pass. Unfortunately for the Giants, the defender usually did see it and reel in an easy interception.
This chemistry problem between Manning and Randle is supposed to be expunged with the offense’s transformation into Ben McAdoo‘s new system. Unlike Kevin Gilbride‘s system, McAdoo’s offense relies much less on receiver reads.
However, there will always be plays where a receiver and a quarterback will need to adjust to the defense. The Giants seem to be learning this in training camp.
Just this week, as reported by ESPN New York’s Dan Graziano, Manning threw an interception where Randle took off down the field and Manning threw short. Zack Bowman intercepted the pass and took it back for a pick-six. This was a mirror image of a play last season when Bowman was with the Bears.
There is no question Randle has the talent to be legitimate No. 1 receiver in the NFL. The third-year receiver out of LSU has good size and tremendous athleticism, which makes him a great option deep in the red zone.
However, Randle truly needs to work out his chemistry issues with Manning. The problem should have less of an impact in the offense this season but there will still be plays that call for receivers to make necessary adjustments.
If Randle can take his play to the next level, the Giants offense will be up and running. If he stalls and doesn’t show drastic improvements from a year ago, New York’s offense will be in serious trouble.