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Landon Collins eyes full return from forearm injury

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – For most players, putting on a jersey after undergoing surgery is indicative of how far they've progressed. Landon Collins this week took one off, but it had the same effect.

Collins is no longer wearing the red sleeveless "do not touch" shirt he wore atop his white No. 21 jersey last week at practice. And though he is not fully participating in the Giants' organized team activities, he continues to make strides from his April surgery, the second on the arm he fractured last Dec. 24 in Arizona.

"I feel like we are on schedule," Collins said today. "We kind of just kept it to ourselves about the whole process and stuff like that. We always knew it was going to take about four weeks, to be safe, six to eight. But it took about four weeks with the proper equipment that we needed."

"He's getting better," coach Pat Shurmur said. "I wouldn't say (his status) has changed. I would just say that we're going to be a little bit cautious, because it's a break that's healed. We're trying to get him in as much as we can, but a little bit at a time. But he looks good. He's getting his extra running, he's getting everything he needs mentally, and I've been very pleased with his progress in all areas."

Collins, who is preparing for his fourth season, would have played in his second consecutive Pro Bowl had he not suffered the injury. When he did not play in the season finale, it ended his streak of 47 consecutive regular-season starts at the outset of his career.

Collins underwent surgery soon after fracturing his arm. When it was not healing to the medical staff's satisfaction, Collins had another procedure.

"Nothing went wrong," he said. "We did everything, had my second opinion from other doctors, everything was great. I was just in that percentile where it didn't heal correctly."

Is he close to being 100 percent?

"I'm very close," Collins said. "Just right now, we're just taking the precautions, not putting me into the team things, getting my arm caught or anything. We're right around the corner from the season, so we're not about to risk anything."

Although he hasn't lined up at his customary strong safety spot, Collins is well-versed in the defensive system brought to the team by new coordinator James Bettcher. He attends all the secondary and defensive meetings, and is on the field observing the unit in action at the OTAs.

"If I were to describe it, I would say (it's) like what I came from in college, honestly," Collins said of Bettcher's schemes. "When he came in and he started coaching, it was like, 'I'm back to kind of my grounds,' and stuff like that. Still quarters, still stuff like that, but back to my grounds from what I had learned in college. It's kind of second nature."

Regarding Bettcher, Collins said, "He's a cool guy. He's a great coach, he's very stern, he loves what he does. And he loves his players and wants us to all play great."

*The Giants today signed former Northwestern tight end Garrett Dickerson, who participated in the rookie minicamp last month on a tryout basis.

"We thought that in really a short period of time he showed us that he was smart and he had instincts, runs around well, he catches the ball," Shurmur said, "and we're just trying to keep reshaping the 90-man roster as we get ready for training camp. We felt like it was a good time to bring in these guys to kind of give them a two weeks head start into the summer and then certainly training camp. So we liked what we saw in a short exposure, so we're going to bring him in and try to learn more."

*The coaching staff gave more reps to some of the young players in practice today.

"We had a real big personnel meeting last Thursday where we kind of just sat down and just talked organizationally about all of the players," Shurmur said. "I just felt like it was time to get a real good look at what we have with some of the younger players as we move forward. We were kind of at the halfway point at OTAs. We're seeing a lot good things from our front line guys, but we felt like today was a good day to see what some of the younger, fresher-legged guys could do. We gave them 14 plays there and we did it in a setting where it was basically a scrimmage, so we could see how they would function getting in and out of the huddle, how they would line up on plays that weren't scripted, and it will be a good tool for us to evaluate some of the young guys."

Photos from the Giants 7th OTA practice