Jordan Raanan on the Giants' receiving corps:
This has nothing to do with free agency, but wide receiver Rueben Randle remains part of the Giants plans despite a season where he was twice benched for a quarter because of tardiness to meetings. Randle is not being shopped after multiple run-ins last season with Coughlin.
The Giants are moving forward as if Randle is part of the future, with the hope that he can excel next season playing alongside Odell Beckham Jr. and Victor Cruz. Randle is still just 23 years old and the team was happy with the way he played late in the season, when they used him more as a downfield threat instead of the possession-receiver role he filled early in the season.
"I think Rueben gets banged on a lot. Sometimes he should get banged on, but I think he gets banged on sometimes a little too much," general manager Jerry Reese said. "I think he is a good, young player and all he needs are some chances. With Odell and Victor, I think he will get plenty of chances."
But if things don't work out with Randle or Cruz (returning from a serious injury), one player I was told to keep an eye out for was Marcus Harris. The Giants were close to using Harris as a starter (in three-wide-receiver sets) last year before injuries shut him down at the end of the summer for the season. The 25-year-old really impressed the Giants last spring and summer.
Randle finished #32 in PPR formats and #37 in standard despite seeing the 20th-most targets (127) on the year, so he wasn't very efficient in his targets. He finished the season with 12 catches for 290 yards and a touchdown in the final two games. He's probably not going to finish in the top 30 in 2015 if Cruz comes back healthy since Cruz and Beckham will likely dominate the targets.
Receiver Rueben Randle did not start Sunday and was benched for the entire first quarter — the second time in the past three games he has been disciplined by Tom Coughlin.
“That’s between Rueben and I,’’ the coach said after the 24-13 victory over the Redskins.
Two weeks ago, Randle did not play in the first quarter in Jacksonville because he was late to a team meeting earlier in the week. This time, Randle again ran afoul of Coughlin.
“Things not always going to go your way, so when adversity hits you, got to pull through and make the best of it,’’ Randle said.
This is a troubling slide for Randle, who has had a disappointing season and has shrunk as rookie Odell Beckham Jr. has ascended, the story pointed out. He let the first two passes thrown his way slip through his hands and ended up with two receptions for 30 yards. He did make a difficult, in-traffic 18-yard grab in the fourth quarter on third-and-8 to set up Beckham’s third touchdown. Eli Manning said it throws off the rhythm of things when referring to Randle.
Monday, December 1, 2014, 9:58am
Cruz planted his right leg to go up for a potential TD catch and never got up. He was carted off and is presumably done for the season. Rueben Randle,
Odell Beckham, Preston Parker and Corey Washington will have to make up for the loss of Cruz. From a fantasy perspective, it could really raise the value of Beckham going forward, who should see a lot more targets. Parker could get a big bump in playing time.
Giants beat writer Dan Graziano: Last week's zero-catch game (for TE Larry Donnell) was not game plan-related, Giants people assure me. With all of their receiving weapons healthy, the Giants are content to take what defenses give them. Donnell is still in the plans as one of several preferred targets, especially in the red zone, where his height gives him an advantage over smaller options such as Odell Beckham Jr., Rueben Randle and Victor Cruz.
Donnell followed up a three-TD game with a goose egg, so owners are understandably confused. After 7.8 targets in the first four games, he was targeted once against the Falcons. Odell Beckham returned to the lineup and saw five targets come his way, so his presence may have a negative impact on Donnell's weekly upside. He's still a good option in the redzone and the targets should even out as defenses have to account for all of the Giants' receiving options.
Monday, September 22, 2014, 1:27pm
Maybe he gets to work in a few individual drills this week, as short as it is (Giants play Thursday night). Then he gets more extensive time in practice next week, actually getting in for some full-team drills. Most likely, however, that still would not be enough time for him to make his debut Oct. 5 against the Falcons. Maybe, but probably not.
If there are no setbacks, Beckham gets in another full week of work and – drumroll, please – finally gets to wear a uniform Oct. 12 for a Sunday night showdown with the Eagles in Philadelphia.
It's just one opinion, but it sounds as if the short week this week will push Beckham back at least another week. The Giants rode their starting WRs hard this past week as guys like Victor Cruz and Rueben Randle saw a majority of the snaps, so they could really use some depth at the position.
Monday, September 15, 2014, 4:06pm
Giants wide receiver Jerrel Jernigan was said to have sustained a mid-foot sprain in the Giants loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. Jernigan's injury wasn't disclosed, but it explains the increase in snaps for Preston Parker late in the contest. Parker had one catch for 29 yards on two targets in the second half.
Saturday, September 13, 2014, 1:35pm
Arizona's Patrick Peterson is a Pro Bowl and All-Pro player. And while he has in the past slipped inside to guard receivers in the slot -- where Cruz resides on a regular basis -- he's unlikely to do it on Sunday when the Giants welcome the Arizona Cardinals in their home opener.
When asked about it this week, Peterson told Cardinals reporters that Cruz was "an inside guy." He then went on to explain that he didn't expect to move around until Arizona plays the 49ers and top wide receiver Michael Crabtree.
"Now next week when we play San Francisco, not to jump ahead, when we get to those guys, that's when you'll start to see a little matching up, here and there," Peterson said.
The Giants had trouble getting Cruz the ball in the opener. He had two receptions 24 yards on Monday night in Detroit, and expressed a need the following day to get the ball earlier and more often, even if he did drop a pair of passes. Both he and Rueben Randle didn't appear on the same page as Eli Manning several times when Manning changed the play. The bad news is Peterson will be on someone, perhaps Randle, on Sunday afternoon.
“I think in order for us to be successful, there needs to be an increased number of targets in my direction,” Cruz said Tuesday. “And in other playmakers’ directions. Just like Rueben Randle as well, in my opinion. But that all comes with the continuity, that comes with getting the running game going, that comes with building what we want to build as the game continues.”
Cruz was targeted six times on Monday night and only was able to haul in two catches for 24 yards. He also had two drops. We're expecting Cruz to play better than he did in Week 1, though the new offense looks like a work in progress.
Friday, September 5, 2014, 5:45pm
Giants WR Odell Beckham (hamstring) missed practice again Friday. Beckham is not expected to play Week 1. Rueben Randle and Jerrel Jernigan should see a lot of snaps as the G-Men utilize plenty of three-wide sets against the Lions.
Friday, September 5, 2014, 12:27pm
The Giants offense is likely to run through Rashad Jennings and the run game early, and Victor Cruz and Rueben Randle are the primary targets in the passing game. But the Giants want to use "11" personnel (three WRs, one TE, one RB) as their primary offensive formation, and with rookie Odell Beckham Jr. still injured, Jerrel Jernigan is going to be on the field as one of three wide receivers when the Giants are between the 20s. He was targeted 12 times and caught six passes for 80 yards and a touchdown as a fill-in for an injured Cruz in Week 16 last year, the last time the Giants were in Detroit.
Monday, September 1, 2014, 9:36am
Sometime on Monday, Eli Manning will enter the Giants’ practice facility, and he’ll sit down with offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo. For the first time in a relationship that began just a few months ago, the quarterback and his guru will begin preparing to face the Detroit Lions next week in a game that will actually count.
Even Manning can’t wait to see how things will go.
“I’m curious about the whole process with talking to him,” Manning said recently. “Getting his thoughts on the week, on what we want to try to do. What plays we like and what we’re thinking, what we’re going to try to do and just seeing how the week goes from third downs to green zone.”
Manning isn’t the only one who wants to see how the Manning-McAdoo dynamic plays out in 2014. For nearly a month now, the Giants have been claiming that their offense is better than it looked during their well-chronicled preseason nightmare, and one of the key reasons players repeatedly noted was game-planning.
The offense hasn't looked good and seems to not be on the same much of the preseason games, but the team insists it's not as bad as it appears. The fantasy future of WRs Victor Cruz and Rueben Randle are what owners are most curious about. Without the threat of a passing game, RB Rashad Jennings will see a lot of stacked fronts.
The Giants will likely open their season with their first-round draft pick where he has been throughout the preseason: on the sideline.
Giants coach Tom Coughlin indicated on Saturday that rookie receiver Odell Beckham, who is nursing a hamstring injury, isn’t expected to play in the Monday night opener against the Lions. Coughlin said one of the reasons wide receiver Preston Parker made the 53-man roster is that he’ll be playing some of the roles the Giants had hoped Beckham could play.
It will be interesting to see if Corey Washington gets a chance after an outstanding preseason. Look for Victor Cruz and Rueben Randle to be the mainstays Week 1. But the Giants offense has struggled, particularly QB Eli Manning and Randle's communication. Outside of RB Rashad Jennings and possibly Cruz, seems best to stay away from the Giants, if possible.
The 6-4 receiver out of Division II Newberry College in South Carolina was one of the biggest surprises in training camp. Washington had a string of three straight game-winning touchdown catches in the preseason, which electrified an otherwise dull offense and endeared himself to a coaching staff in search of a playmaker.
It remains to be seen what kind of fantasy value Washington will have. He'll still be behind guys like Victor Cruz, Rueben Randle and Odell Beckham at the very least, but the way he's played in the preseason, coupled with the Giants first team offense struggles, one would think he's at least given a chance in certain packages.
Giants coach Tom Coughlin has seen this too many times before. Quarterback Eli Manning staring in the direction of wide receiver Rueben Randle after an incompletion or interception, frozen in his patented Manning Face.
"I thought the worst play of the night was the misconnection between Rueben Randle and Eli," Coughlin said. "I thought, he thought, those kind of things. Everyone in this room is tired of hearing that stuff. There is no place for that."
Randle insists it's nothing that can't be fixed. Unlike last year when the wide receiver estimated 80 percent of Manning's interceptions were caused by miscommunication, this was simply a matter of their timing being off. The mistakes this year have been a result of timing.
Unfortunately, this seems to have occurred far too often this preseason for the Giants' new offense, which continues to struggle.
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