New York Giants wide receiver Rueben Randle was expected to make a significant leap in 2013, but that did not happen. Despite increased playing time, Randle continued to demonstrate an almost maddening inconsistency, costing himself the trust of both quarterback Eli Manning and head coach Tom Coughlin. Even General Manager Jerry Reese came out and questioned his 2012 second-round pick, saying the "jury is still out" on him.
Well, Randle received the message loud and clear. He arrived for the offseason workout program in tremendous shape, with a more dedicated work ethic and a desire to soak up as much knowledge as possible.
"I think Rueben’s whole deal, you look at him, the skill set, the intelligence, he’s got that. For me that battle with him is consistency and I think he knows that and I think he’s addressed it in this offseason in the way he approaches his job," wide receivers coach Sean Ryan said. "I think there’s a difference there. I’ve seen a difference in him, his seriousness towards his work. I expect him to do well."
Not only did Randle show the coaches (and his teammates) that he's working hard to improve, but he demonstrated it on the field during practices. Most notably, hauling in a 75+ yard touchdown pass in the team's very first (public) two-minute drill in Organized Team Activities (OTAs).
And while Randle seems like the ideal replacement for Hakeem Nicks, who took his talents to Indianapolis, the coaches threw him a bit of a curveball this offseason. As a result of his knew dedication, willingness to learn and overall athletic ability, Sean Ryan & Co. decided he may also see some time at slot receiver.
“They were talking to me about coming in on the inside,” Randle told the New York Daily News. “Using my big body in the seams. Whatever they need me to do, I’ll do it.”
Although Randle in the slot may end up being nothing more than an offseason experiment, the third-year wideout does have some experience there. As a sophomore at LSU, Randle saw a significant amount of snaps from the slot en route to a 33-reception, 544-yard season.
It will be interesting to see if the Giants implement that during the preseason, and will be even more interesting to see just how far Randle has come since Week 17 of last season.
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