EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Jerrel Jernigan was not a "starting" wide receiver officially. But the New York Giants are in three-wide receiver sets on the vast majority of their offensive plays, and with rookie Odell Beckham Jr. sidelined to start the season, Jernigan was playing a significant role as one of the outside receivers in those three-wide sets.
Jernigan went on injured reserve Tuesday, which means his season is over. Beckham, who still hasn't practiced with the team since July 22 because of a hamstring injury, isn't ready yet. So the Giants need someone else from their bench to fill that spot opposite Rueben Randle when Victor Cruz goes into the slot. And first up will be Preston Parker.
"He will have that opportunity," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said Wednesday. "He's been in the league. He's very quick. He's played before. He's got a good attitude about it. He's a tough guy, and hopefully he'll make a strong contribution."
Parker made the team as a bench wide receiver and a punt returner because of injuries to punt-return options Beckham and Trindon Holliday. Parker caught one 29-yard pass in relief of Jernigan in Sunday's loss to the Cardinals. He caught 40 passes for 554 yards and three touchdowns as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2011, but he played in only two games in 2012 and was out of football last season.
"It's an opportunity," Parker said. "It's an opportunity for me to take advantage of and try and make something happen. I remember I was at that high, and I went through those lows and now I'm back to that high again. You have to appreciate that."
The other options at wide receiver right now are undrafted rookie Corey Washington, who became a preseason cult hero with his 6-foot-4 frame and the four touchdown passes he caught in the exhibition games, and Julian Talley, who was added from the practice squad Tuesday. Parker gets the first shot at replacing Jernigan because of his experience. Washington has been used sparingly, when the team goes to four-wide sets and occasionally at the goal line.
Beckham again worked on a side field Wednesday. There's almost no chance he plays Sunday against Houston, and because the Giants' next game is only four days later, he's not likely to see the field in Week 4 either.