With the departure of Mario Manningham, one of the major storylines heading into the season was how the Giants would fill the role of the third wide receiver.
That task, among others, was put on the plate of Kevin M. Gilbride, who took over as wide receivers coach this year. The season started out as planned as the passing game picked up where it left off from Super Bowl XLVI. Eli Manning was the first quarterback to throw for 1,000 yards in the NFL, and Domenik Hixon and Ramses Barden took turns stepping up.
But then the injury bug hit the group and three different wide receivers have started opposite Victor Cruz.
"The thing is, based on injury, we've had to slide some guys in there, whether they were the third wide or not," Gilbride said. "The good thing is that we've had some guys step into those roles and be productive. Whether it be Ramses Barden; clearly Domenik Hixon has played well when he's been in there, and Rueben Randle's really shown some things when he's been in there as well."
Gilbride hopes the bye week will cure any nicks and bruises with his group as the Giants prepare for the next phase of the season.
Meanwhile, Randle is beginning to show his second-round talent both in practice and on the field. The rookie has notched big plays of 56 and 36 yards this season while averaging 14.4 yards per catch.
Gilbride talked about his progression from the offseason and what he needs to do in the final six weeks of the season.
"I'd say he has a grasp of understanding the offense, understanding techniques and then actually getting on the field and executing it," Gilbride said. "He's just made steps in the right direction. He's not where he needs to be, but he's getting there. Then hopefully down the stretch run, he can really be a factor helping our team."