Coughlin: Time is now for Barden

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Head coach Tom Coughlin said Monday that if fourth-year wide receiver Ramses Barden is going to make his mark in the NFL, the time is now.

“It’s time. It’s time. It was time last year. It’s time,” Coughlin said after practice. “The guy is going to make a mark in the league. He’s smart; he’s been around long enough. He’s been in the heat of it. You know, he’s made plays; he just needs to make them more consistently. I hope this is his time.”

Before Monday’s practice, Barden said that he isn’t looking at this as being a make-or-break season for him, after collecting 15 total receptions since the Giants took him in the third round of the draft in 2009.

“I don’t think about it like that,” Barden said. “We have a lot of talent in that room and we have a lot of competitiveness, and those are things that I’m focusing on -- finding ways to beat the person across from me. I feel like the rest will take care of itself. I’m excited to seize all the opportunities that I think can come my way but other than that, that’s it. I want to enjoy the game and I want to compete and enjoy it at the same time. I think that’s my goal this year.”

Barden brings excellent size to the position at 6-foot-6, 224 pounds, but injuries have limited the receiver. He broke an ankle in Nov. 2010, and started 2011 on the Physically Unable to Perform list. He said it was nice to have a full offseason of preparation.

“Obviously I didn’t have that last year, so I won’t say it gave me a leg up, but it at least gave me more of an even playing field that I didn’t have the previous season,” Barden said.

Barden is one of many battling for the No. 3 receiver position in camp, with Mario Manningham having moved on to San Francisco. With starter Hakeem Nicks on the PUP list, there have been more opportunities for pass catchers to shine.

“Any time you’re on the field you want to take utmost advantage of what you have and that’s all it is,” Barden said. “When you get an opportunity you play with maximum effort. That opportunity might not come again.”