EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants have two wide receivers from LSU.
One is an emerging superstar. The other, it's fair to say, has been disappointing this season.
Odell Beckham Jr. has only played in nine NFL games, and his jersey is already in the Hall of Fame. Rueben Randle is now in his third NFL season, but the former second-round pick has failed to make the leap to the next level in his first year as a starter, replacing the departed Hakeem Nicks.
In fact, in four fewer games, Beckham (59 catches, 829 yards, six touchdowns) has eclipsed Randle (57 catches, 618 yards, two touchdowns) in the major statistical categories. Randle is also averaging a career-low 10.8 yards per reception, although that may be partly due to the new West Coast system the Giants are employing.
"I think that he’s had games where he’s played well, very well. Other games, not so well," coach Tom Coughlin said Thursday. "You’re always striving for the consistent performer and I think he would agree with that. Try to get better, that’s the whole deal."
Randle did have one 100-yard receiving game this season, with seven catches for 112 yards in the Giants' 16-10 loss to the 49ers in Week 11. He was targeted a whopping 15 times in that game by Eli Manning, and at least nine times in eight straight games up to that point.
But in the past three games, he's only been targeted 10 times combined. He was suspended for the first quarter of the Giants' loss to the Jaguars, reportedly for being late to a team meeting. Despite Manning completing 26 passes for 260 yards in the 36-7 win over the Titans last week, Randle had a season-low one catch for nine yards.
Offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo said Thursday that the Giants have not been staying away from Randle on purpose.
"We like to distribute the ball," McAdoo said. "The coverage tells us where we’re going to go with it. It just happened to fall like that last week."
For what it's worth, it doesn't sound like the coaching staff has given up on Randle.
"He’s been a little bit streaky. Some days better than others," McAdoo said. "We have a lot of confidence in him and expect him to continue to grow, get better. He’s still a young player and we feel his best days are ahead of him."
As for Randle, he said he sees himself getting open on film. "I can only control what I can control," Randle said. "The ball come my way, I gotta make a play."
When asked if he feels not enough balls are coming his way, Randle said, "That’s not really my job to say that. As a receiver, my job is to go out there and do what I’m asked, and that's what I'm trying to do."
We'll see what happens in these final three games. Maybe Randle is still part of the future, or maybe the Giants need to go looking for another wide receiver.