Big Blue Morning: Happier returns?

February, 14, 2014
Feb 14
9:00
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Mentioned this on NFL Insiders on Thursday, but it bears noting as the New York Giants get going on their offseason that they are determined to upgrade their kick-return and punt-return game. The Giants ranked 27th in the league in kick-return yardage per game and 26th in punt-return yardage per game in 2013, and when free agency opens March 11 they could have their eyes on some guys with return experience. They're looking for wide receiver help anyway, so free agents like Julian Edelman, Golden Tate and Dexter McCluster could rank higher on their wish list than they might as receivers alone. They looked into signing Josh Cribbs last year and didn't do it, so you know this is on their radar.

Running back David Wilson was a great kick returner for the Giants in his 2012 rookie season. And a source close to the situation told me this week that Wilson is recovering very well from his neck surgery, lifting weights and working out and that there's "no reason to believe he won't be playing" in 2014. That's good news, but even if Wilson does come back 100 percent, they won't want to run him out their as a kick returner. They weren't going to do that in 2013 before he got hurt, and the neck injury that ended his season in October surely rules it out for the future. Michael Cox, Jerrel Jernigan and Wilson were the primary kick returners this year, to little effect. Wide receiver Rueben Randle was the primary punt returner, and even if he'd done well, the likelihood that he'll assume a larger role in the offense could mean they'd want to wean him off punt-return duty in 2014.

Dan Graziano

ESPN New York Giants reporter

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