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Giants look to boost return game


One of the mysteries still to be solved on the 2012 Giants is who will return punts and kickoffs.

Coach Tom Coughlin said today several players could assume those roles.

"We would like to have a committee of guys," Coughlin said at the team's minicamp at the Timex Performance Center. "And those people that you see out there – (Rookie Rueben) Randle has caught the ball well; not always in the best body position as you saw a couple of times yesterday – but from a hand standpoint adjusting to the ball, he has done real well with that.  So it is a matter of having three, four or five guys that can do it.  And that would allow us to not have just one individual back there.  Be able to use Domenik (Hixon) in those situations, and others as well – J.J. (Jerrel Jernigan), trying to get J.J. going in that regard.  He can help us.  Victor (Cruz) can help us back there. He can certainly handle the ball back there as well. So we have four or five guys. We want to keep working those guys."

Randle, the second-round draft choice from LSU, has caught Coughlin's eye through the spring drills and minicamp.

"There are a lot of guys that are coming along fast; improving and looking better," Coughlin said. "And certainly he had a good day yesterday

"Randle has demonstrated that not only does he have a pretty good understanding of what we are trying to do, but he has put himself in position where he has made plays. So just keep getting better. Give us more options; that is what we want."

*Coughlin was queried about several players not working on the field in the minicamp.

Defensive end Osi Umenyiora "was sore, so we held him. He had practiced in all of the OTA's since he had been back. He has gone every day."

Cornerback Corey Webster has a sore hamstring.

"Webster has been the same way since we got here, the hamstring," Coughlin said. "Now you are getting close to (training) camp, you certainly don't want to have any setbacks."

Safety Tyler Sash also has a hamstring issue.

"He is progressing," Coughlin said. "He doesn't feel like he can fire it right now.  And that is why he is not practicing.  But it is something that I think he will be ready for camp."

*Cornerback Prince Amukamara, who missed so much of his rookie season with a foot injury, is not working fully but is handling a heavier load.

"Prince is making progress," Coughlin said. "They are letting him do up to a point and he is out there competing.  It is a whole different year for him, really. Since he has had that experience and a lot of that is behind him. He is doing a good job. Hopefully he is going to continue."

Coughlin believes Amukamara will become a more physical player in his second season.

"If he gets himself in position where he is comfortable and knows what he is doing, we have seen that other aspect – the physical part of the play," Coughlin said. "You saw it, too.  As a collegiate player, that is what he was.  He was a physical player – he was a corner."

*Coughlin was unhappy at losing tight end Jake Ballard, who was claimed off waivers yesterday by New England. The Giants waived/failed physical Ballard on Monday.

"'Discouraged' is a minor description; very disappointing," Coughlin said.  "I'm not going to have a lot to say about that one - just the fact that we are disappointed, very disappointed." 

Ballard is not expected to play this season because of the torn ACL he suffered in the Giants' victory over the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI. But they expected him to return and contribute in 2013.

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