EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –** The doors keep opening for Rueben Randle as he continues his quest for more playing time as an NFL sophomore in 2013.
Randle spent much of the Giants' spring drills running with the first team because of Hakeem Nicks' absence. Today, Nicks left the team's training camp practice at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center with what coach Tom Coughlin called, "tightness in his groin." So Randle again lined up with the starters.
Randle was the Giants' second-round draft choice in 2012, from LSU. As a rookie, he caught 19 passes for 298 yards and three touchdowns, including two in the season finale vs. Philadelphia. This year, Randle expects to play more – even when Nicks is in the lineup – and Coughlin is encouraged by his progress.
"He came back lighter and he looks good," Coughlin said. "He seems to be more serious, more intent. He had a lot to learn in that first year and it looks like some of the messages are getting through."
Randle's goal is simultaneously modest and vital.
"I just want to go out there and make more plays," he said. "I think we left a lot of them out there last season that could have at least gotten us into the playoffs and had a chance to go into the Super Bowl. So I feel like we could make up on that year and come out this season and make a lot more plays."
At 6-3 and 211 pounds, Randle has the height and strength to be a productive receiver close to the goal line.
"That's what they need me to do," Randle said. "I've got a lot of skill sets that's going to help them, especially using my size… to go up and attack the ball, so whatever they need me to do, I'll be willing to do it.
"I think I've learned from my mistakes and what I need to really work on, and just exploit those things to really get better overall."
*Safety Tyler Sash suffered cramps near the end of practice.
*Second-year tight end Adrien Robinson made two outstanding catches in the 7-on-7 drill.
*Four members of the Giants' 2007 Super Bowl championship team attended practice. Cornerback Sam Madison began a three-week stint as an assistant defensive backs coach. Linebacker Antonio Pierce was here with a crew from ESPN, where he has worked since his retirement after the 2009 season. Center Shaun O'Hara was at the other end of the field with his co-workers from the NFL Network. And punter Jeff Feagles works on Giants Training Camp Live on the MSG Network.
*Feagles had a little fun with Coughlin at the coach's post-practice news conference. The Giants practiced field goals during the workout and on the final snap, holder Steve Weatherford took the snap, rolled to his right and yelled "fire" to alert everyone he was on the move and looking to run or pass.
Holding a microphone, Feagles – who was the Giants' holder from 2003-2009 - asked Coughlin, "Coach, you ran a fake field goal. Is there any reason why you would think you have more confidence in No. 5 (Weatherford) than No. 18 (Feagles)?"
"There are a lot of reasons, yes," Coughlin said. "He can get to the edge, maybe. He didn't throw it as well as you did, though."