New York Giants: Rueben Randle Needs to Step Up with Ramses Barden's Concussion

Doug Rush@Doug_RushSenior Analyst IOctober 4, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 30:  Wide receiver Rueben Randle #82 of the New York Giants is tackled by defensive back Curtis Marsh #31 of the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on September 30, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)
Alex Trautwig/Getty Images

The wide receiver position for the New York Giants is thinning out because of injuries.

Hakeem Nicks is still trying to get over a knee injury that has kept him out of the last two games, and now Ramses Barden has a concussion, which has kept him out of practice.

With the concussion, there's a good possibility that Barden may not see the field when the Giants host the 0-4 Cleveland Browns on Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium.

With Nicks likely to miss his third game, Domenik Hixon has to step his game up taking his place in the lineup.

Now with Barden's injury causing him to potentially be out the lineup, that means rookie Rueben Randle needs to step up as well.

Through the first four weeks of the season, Randle has been a total non-factor in the Giants offense.

He has one catch for four yards—not exactly numbers that will be winning him a Rookie of the Year award anytime soon.

Normally, rookies on the Giants offense don't get much exposure, like Steve Smith and Mario Manningham in the past. Nicks was actually one of the rare rookies who got used quite a bit in the offense back in 2009.

On the depth chart, Randle finds himself as the fifth wide receiver behind Nicks, Victor Cruz, Hixon and Barden, but on Sunday, his role will increase.

Against the Browns, with all of the injuries to Nicks and Barden, Randle could be the No. 3 receiver that Eli Manning is going to target.

Randle needs to make every bit of this chance if he wants to see more playing time in 2012.

Barden made the most of his opportunity against the Panthers in Week 3 when Nicks was first sidelined with the knee injury, and he was rewarded with more playing time.

Before the season, a lot of people talked about how NFL-ready Randle looked and how he could make a major impact on the Giants offense.

So far, he has yet to live up to that hype, but it's only four weeks in.

The Browns are not a good team, and the Giants need to take advantage of the matchup on Sunday.

Cruz will likely draw double-teams, as could Hixon, especially after his game on Sunday against the Eagles.

Manning could also look to Martellus Bennett, who's had a nice start to 2012, but he's also going to be looking for Randle.

Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post brought up NBC analyst Cris Collinsowrth's comments to the Giants in practice about how he said Randle's work ethic and grasp of the offense has led to his early struggles.

According to Hubbuch, even Randle admitted that he's still trying to think more on his feet and adjust to the NFL-style defenses that he faces on the field.

If Randle doesn't want to be a forgotten man in the Giants' areal attack, he needs to step his game up.

And with the injuries to the Giants' wideout corps, that stepping-up needs to come a lot sooner.