Randle: Preseason opener a big step

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Rookie wide receiver Rueben Randle is looking at the team’s first preseason game in Jacksonville Friday night as a big step for himself and the other rookies, like David Wilson.

“That means a lot,” said Randle, the 6-foot-2, 208-pounder out of LSU. “Be able to show the coaches what we’re capable of doing and I think they’ll gain more confidence in us, and more trust in the players around us.”

The Giants drafted Randle hoping he could replace Mario Manningham. Randle said he’s more comfortable since camp started and is grasping the playbook better.

“Still a little gray areas that I could work on, but for the most part I am picking up on it pretty well and I think [wide receivers coach] coach [Kevin M.] Gilbride is noticing that because I ask him a lot of questions when we’re in meetings,” he said. “So, I am picking up on it pretty good.”

Gilbride said last week that Randle has shown his skill and talent, but needs to “develop physically and mentally within our offense, within our system.”

“As a young player there’s a lot you can learn still,” Randle said. “Talent has helped me out a little bit more than some other players, but I’ll still continue to work hard and try to practice my craft and everything and just continue to get better.”

Randle is competing not only for the third receiver spot but also as a punt returner. He said he did that every day in college and has been returning punts since high school.

“He has very good hands,” special teams coordinator Tom Quinn said. “Sometimes he’s almost too confident with his hands and he catches the ball as if he’s catching a pass instead of getting up and underneath it. He covers more ground that it appears because he’s a long smooth strider, but he does have the ability to stick his foot in the ground from what it looks like in practice.”