Since Rueben Randle was selected by the Giants on the second round of this year's NFL draft, an oft-repeated description of him has been, "NFL-ready." Just don't try to slip that one by his position coach.
"I don't even know what that term means," Kevin M. Gilbride, the Giants' first-year wide receivers coach, said today at the University at Albany. "All I know is that he needs to develop. He's shown some flashes of great things in training camp so far but also is very inconsistent with his knowledge of our offense and how we're trying to execute our offense. Does he show flashes? Do you see the talent? No question you do, but he needs to develop physically and mentally within our offense and our system."
Gilbride was candid when asked if he was worried if Randle will learn the lessons necessary to succeed in the NFL.
"That is a worry, for sure," Gilbride said. "He has made some plays, but he ran a slant and caught the ball but it wasn't a great release. When you're facing a corner that's Pro Bowl-caliber, that's not going to work. So does he need to improve on those things? Yes. I don't think he's going to get complacent, though. I think he understands that we're counting on him and that his teammates are counting on him. That resonates with him, so he needs to just continue to develop."
Randle has worked primarily at split end. Because Hakeem Nicks is sidelined while he recovers from a broken foot, he has received more practice reps than he might have otherwise. Randle has found adjusting to the NFL to be a complicated challenge. Asked what's been most difficult, he said, "Just picking up on everything in the meeting rooms, learning all of the different positions, moving around a lot, and just the flow of the game. Just trying to go at the same pace with the ones, on the same level as those guys as a rookie."
Nicks has helped the youngster by constantly tutoring him.
"He's been like a big brother to me," Randle said. "He has guided me along, and continued to teach me the ropes. So, I'm really thankful for him."
Another mentor is cornerback Corey Webster, a fellow LSU Tiger. Randle was nauseous on Sunday and was slow to return to the huddle after running his routes. Webster stayed on him by constantly yelling, "jog back, 82 (Randle's jersey number)."
"He's going to push me each and every day, so I'm looking forward to the challenge," Randle said. "He just gives me knowledge, teaches me like Hakeem does. He teaches me the ropes, some of the things that he knows, since he's been in the league for a little while. I just take heed on the things they tell me."
If he does, Randle should soon be ready for the NFL.
*Gilbride on Nicks: "He's chomping at the bit. The great thing about Hakeem is that in the meetings he's very dialed in. He's one of those guys that in order to be ready to play football games he wants to know everything there is to know about the scheme and the defense that he's playing. That's the approach that he's taken, even in the meetings and even though he's sitting on the sideline. He's sitting there chomping on the bit ready to go. That's where we want him. We want our players that way so he's got a great approach."
*Gilbride, an offensive assistant the previous two years, was asked what it's like to work with his father, offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride.
"When it comes to football it's 'Coach' to me," he said. "He's my boss, he's not my father as far as the approach that I take and I think that that's really the approach that he takes as well. When we do have time and we're out of the office it's great, because this is the most time I've ever spent with him. Coaches' hours are a lot of hours, so unless he was on vacation in the summers he was working a lot. So this is by far the most amount of time I've ever spent with my father, these last two years and now moving forward into the third."