Coughlin: Randle's 'chance to step up'

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Tom Coughlin may be irritated with the absence of his top two receivers from OTAs, but that also means he and the coaching staff can get a closer look at Rueben Randle.

Coughlin confirmed that Randle has a terrific opportunity this offseason to take a step forward.

"He’s moving in that direction," Coughlin said. "He’s certainly had many opportunities and if there’s a guy who really has a chance to step his game up and really show what he can do, it’s happening right now to Rueben."

Early on during Thursday’s OTA, Randle beat Prince Amukamara for a deep touchdown catch from Eli Manning. It was the kind of play the Giants envisioned when they took Randle in the second round last year.

Randle had a total of 19 receptions for 298 yards and three touchdowns last season. However, he showed glimpses of his potential. He had six receptions for 82 yards against Cleveland early in the season. And then in the season finale, Randle had four catches for 58 yards and two touchdowns against Philadelphia.

Now that he’s in his second season, Randle feels more comfortable.

"I’m a lot more confident in what I do," he said. "Going out there and making more plays, understanding the offense and more on the same page with Eli. And also, getting more trust from the coaches, and going out there and getting more reps so I can show my ability more."

With Nicks and Cruz absent from voluntary OTAs, Randle is one of several receivers who are seeing added reps with Manning. Jerrel Jernigan and Louis Murphy are two other receivers taking advantage of the valuable practice time.

"I think the guys have stepped up," Manning said. "The rules of OTAs limit certain things. It’s all off coverage. It’s all pretty simple defenses, but guys are getting open. We’re throwing the ball well, so I’ve been pleased with the way we’ve been looking the last few days.

"I think if we weren’t looking really sharp and not getting open or not being as effective offensively, I would be frustrated with the circumstances. But the fact that we’re doing well, I’ve been very pleased."

Randle is the one receiver who stands to benefit the most from added reps with Manning. He’s slated to be the third receiver behind Nicks and Cruz and has a chance to thrive potentially in that Mario Manningham third receiver role.

Randle says Coughlin hasn’t talked to him about how big these OTA reps can be for him. But the head coach doesn’t have to.

"I understood that going in anyway," Randle said. "I think that’s why they drafted me. They wanted me to come in and make an impact, so I’ve just gotta go out there and do my job, do it to the best of my abilities."