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For Giants WRs, philosophy is always next man up

Posted Sep 22, 2015

Several Giants could be playing in different spots on Thursday including the slot.

Geremy Davis entered the Giants’ locker room today and noticed the space once holding Preston Parker’s belongings was empty. Parker was released today, after playing just two games in his second season with the team.

“I didn’t get to see him before he left, which is unfortunate,” said Davis, who was the Giants’ sixth-round draft choice this year. “Preston taught me a lot from the OTA’s and minicamp and so on from special teams to the wide receiver standpoint. It was unfortunate, but it’s the business of it.”

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That point was driven home to the entire team, but particularly the receiving corps. Parker caught 36 passes in his first Giants season in 2014 and five in the first two games this year. But he had been unable to secure several passes in the Giants’ losses to Dallas and Atlanta, including one on the final pay in the loss Sunday to the Falcons.

“Preston Parker, for the majority of time he was here, was a very tough, physical football player who made plays when called upon,” coach Tom Coughlin said. “That hasn’t been the case necessarily this year. We thank him for his service.”

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The Giants re-signed defensive tackle Kenrick Ellis to take Parker’s roster spot.

The other receivers have been challenged to be more productive. Odell Beckham Jr. is tied for the team lead with 12 catches, and he scored on a 67-yard catch-and-run against the Falcons. Victor Cruz remains sidelined with a calf injury, which is improving but he hasn’t practiced and isn’t expected to play Thursday night vs. Washington.

So the spotlight this week falls on two other wideouts, fourth-year man Rueben Randle and Davis, whose only career catch was a five-yarder vs. Atlanta.

Randle caught just four passes for 28 yards in the first two games, and matched Davis with one five-yard reception in the loss to the Falcons. Coughlin suggested the lack of production might be due in part to the time Randle missed in preseason due to knee tendonitis.

“It’s just more about me getting out there and playing fast, and that’s what I want to do,” said Randle, who had 71 receptions last season and is on an early pace to finish with 32 this year. “That’s what I’m trying to do right now, and hopefully this Thursday, I can get back into the groove and go out there and make some plays.”

Randle believes he will be in a better position to make plays vs. Washington because, like all Giants receivers, he can play multiple positions.

“I’m moving around a lot more now,” he said. “I think this Thursday I’ll be in the slot. We’ve just got to see how it goes. I’m preparing myself for anything, and try to make as many plays as possible.

“I’ve been staying on the outside, so this game may present some opportunities for me to move to the slot. I’ve been getting more reps in the slot this week. We’ll see how it goes.”

Davis, as well as veteran Dwayne Harris, who has yet to catch a pass in his first Giants season, could assume larger roles in the wake of Parker’s departure.

“I’m hoping so,” Davis said. “Increased role in special teams, increased role (from a) wideout standpoint - anything to help me contribute to helping the team win. It helps to get extra reps at practice and stuff like that to get prepared for the game.”

But is Davis truly prepared to help the team win a game in two days?

“He’s going to have to be,” quarterback Eli Manning said. “We are going to need some guys to step up, need some guys to make some plays. We’ve been moving guys around. Rueben is one to move around some, get him playing different spots, so it should be - guys are prepared for that and we should be in good shape.”


Despite his scant experience, Davis in confident.


“It’s been a good week of practice so far, we got another day tomorrow,” Davis said. “Just keep taking one day at a time. Once the game comes, Lord willing, go out there and do my best.”

Cruz has not abandoned hope of playing Thursday, but he hasn’t practiced since Aug. 17.

“I’m closer,” Cruz said. “There’s no pain in there anymore, so it’s just a matter of getting the confidence back to running on it and cutting on it, things like that.

“You never know what could happen. You always just want to go out there and perform, make sure you’re good to go for whatever week is upcoming. Obviously, the short week leaves you a little handicapped, if you will. But we’ll see. We’ll see how it continues to progress, how I feel in the morning, and we’ll go from there.”

Cruz seems to be a bit conflicted about where he stands. Asked how much he would lobby Coughlin to let him play against Washington, Cruz said, “A lot, let’s put it that way.”

But today he ran on grass for the first time since the calf strain forced him off the field. So Cruz conceded a pretty dramatic improvement would be required in the next 48 hours for him to be able to play.

“It would have to be a lot,” he said. “If you know coach Coughlin, it’s going to take a lot. So we’ll see, I’m going to keep continuing to put the work in myself, and we’ll see where this takes me. But with TC, it gets tough.”

Without Cruz, the Giants receivers in uniform have to get going.

– Geremy Davis entered the Giants’ locker room today and noticed the space once holding Preston Parker’s belongings was empty. Parker was released today, after playing just two games in his second season with the team.