Randle working to get back on field
December, 15, 2012
By Matt Ehalt | ESPNNewYork.com
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.-- Rueben Randle couldn't get off the sideline.
Just two weeks after scoring his first career touchdown, and one week after playing 42 snaps, the rookie receiver barely could get on the field last Sunday. He had just one offensive snap and was even removed from his normal position as the punt returner in the Giants' 52-27 win over the Saints.
The rookie acknowledged it was a difficult set of cards to be dealt.
"Yeah, a little bit," Randle said on Friday. "But it wasn't anything that I was really focusing on or anything like that. Just stay on the sideline and just be ready for whenever coach puts me in."
While Randle hadn't been setting the league ablaze, the receiver had been getting decent playing time leading up to the Saints game. He had played at least 19 snaps in each of the previous three games, two of which veteran Domenik Hixon missed with an injury. In the previous two he also had garnered more snaps than fellow receivers Ramses Barden and Jerrel Jernigan.
That changed against the Saints when Randle had the fewest snaps of the team's receivers. Seemingly a lot of that had to do with Hixon's return, as he played 43 snaps in the win and caught a touchdown. Barden and Jernigan, who it seemed Randle had passed on the team's depth chart, combined for seven snaps, a small amount but still more than the second-round pick.
"It's part of the weekly thing," Randle said. "Hopefully this week I'll get more involved in the offense."
Losing punt return duties caught Randle by surprise. He had troubles holding onto punts against Green Bay, and then was replaced Sunday with Hixon. Giants coach Tom Coughlin and special teams coordinator Tom Quinn both talked of Hixon's past success returning punts and wanting him back there.
Randle said wasn't told before the game that he had been removed as the return man, but never questioned the decision. Randle has returned 15 punts for 108 yards on the year with a long return of 18 yards. Hixon returned two punts for 19 yards on Sunday.
"It is what it is. They make the decisions," Randle said. "It's our jobs to go out there and complete our tasks."
It may not seem like Randle has carried any momentum he had from his first career touchdown into the past few weeks, but the receiver believes it will carry over soon. He's not getting down about the lack of playing time and is preparing to try and help the team down the stretch.
He described his rookie year as "OK" so far, as he's caught 14 balls for 197 yards and a touchdown.
"I expected to do better but just keep the positives and stay positive," Randle said. "Hopefully go up in inclines and make more plays in this stretch, especially in the playoffs."