Expected to participate: Hakeem Nicks, Rueben Randle, Louis Murphy, Kris Adams, Ramses Barden, Keith Carlos, Brandon Collins, Kevin Hardy, Jeremy Horne, Jerrel Jernigan
Not expected to participate: Victor Cruz (unsigned)
Overview: The drama is building in the building right now. Will Cruz sign his tender and show? Or will he continue to exhaust all of his options as a free agent this summer? We will know the answer to that shortly. If Cruz does not sign his tender by June 17, or next Monday, he may end up playing for $630K if the Giants chose to reduce the tender amount, which they have the option to do.
Minicamp is mandatory, so Nicks – who is still under contract – is expected to show or face severe fines that could top $66K for the three days. If he shows, we’ll know his absence at OTAs were not contract related. If he doesn’t, the Giants have a major problem on their hands. The consensus is that he will show and skipped OTAs to avoid a repeat of last spring, when he broke his foot during drills.
It’s still a Nicks and Cruz game (to quote Bill Belichick) but the Giants aren’t exactly unprepared should both decide to cut camp. Rueben Randle, last year’s second round pick, is developing into an NFL starter. Speedy free agent pickup Louis Murphy has been working well with QB Eli Manning.
Former third-round pick Jerrel Jernigan has been working in the slot in Cruz’ absence. He can get deep as well. Brandon Collins, who played well last summer at camp, is back and has been impressing the coaches at OTAs. Ramses Barden got no love in free agency, so the Giants decided to bring him back on minimum deal.
WR coach Kevin M. Gilbride has his work cut out for him this summer, but right now he’s concentrating on making the group that is present better and ready for training camp in July. He spoke to the media last week.
With Victor and Hakeem not at OTAs, what has it meant for the other guys?
“It’s been great for those guys. Those guys have now had an opportunity to continue to work on the skills, work on learning our offense in general and the detail with which we run our routes and that’s really important for those young guys. Everybody knows through the course of the season there are injuries. When we have injuries what we’ve done a great job here with the receiving corps is having the next guy step up and do a great job taking over for the guy that was injured. So for these guys to get all the work out here it’s been great for them.”
How does it affect everybody that Hakeem has chosen not to be here?
“Anyone who’s not in the OTAs right now that’s going to set them back to an extent, which means they’re going to have to play catch up when they get back here. So we’d love to have everyone here, but the fact that they’re not is allowing these other guys to really get in there and get the reps and work on those things that we need to improve on as a wide receiver corps.”
Should it be easy for Victor and Hakeem to get back to the speed of things?
“I don’t think anything is easy. I think it all takes work and timing and development of your individual skills, of your grasp of the offense and the detail. I don’t think it’s easy, but I think those two, Victor and Hakeem, have the ability and the mental capacity to step in and basically play catch up like we talked about and get caught up pretty quickly.”
Does it have a different feel to you without Victor and Hakeem and their ability to get deep?
“No. We’ve hit a ton of deep balls. It’s actually been a pleasant surprise across the board with the receiving corps from the guys who were running with the first group to the second to the third group. We’ve hit a ton of touchdown passes down the field.”