EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Who would've thought "Slant to Barden" could be a big play in the New York Giants' offense this season?
If Ramses Barden's performance Friday night was any indication, there's a chance it just might.
The embattled 26-year-old wide receiver had three catches for 46 yards, including his first professional touchdown, in Big Blue's 20-17 loss to the Chicago Bears at MetLife Stadium.
"It's been a while since I was in the end zone," said the fourth-year pro, who hadn't scored a TD since Nov. 29, 2008, his last collegiate game at Cal Poly. "There was a time when I was used to it. Hopefully, it's the foundation for some more."
With the Giants facing third-and-2 and trailing 7-3 in the second quarter, Barden ran a slant pattern, got inside position on Chicago cornerback Charles Tillman and hauled in an 11-yard pass from Eli Manning to put his team back on top with 5:33 left.
"I don't know," the 6-foot-6 Barden replied when asked why he's so successful running the slant. "I think being a bigger body, bigger target is a comfort zone for whoever is throwing the ball, whether it be Eli, David (Carr) or Ryan (Perrilloux). They kind of feel like I have a natural box-out position regardless of when they decide to throw it, or whether it's a slant or a skinny post. With inside position, somebody of my size can give the QB a lot of confidence."
The Giants had high expectations for Barden when they selected him in the third round of the 2009 draft. But he hasn't been able to fulfill them because he hasn't been able to stay on the field. In his first three seasons in the NFL, the injury-plagued wideout has been limited to just 17 games and 15 catches.
Asked about the importance of this particular preseason in terms of trying to prove himself worthy of a roster spot, Barden replied, "They're all important, but for me, absolutely, because I've been here for a few years, and this is the healthiest I've been in a while. And I want to show that good feeling isn't going to waste. I want to be here for whatever this team needs me to do, offense, green zone. The more touchdowns I can get, the happier I'll be."
Manning, for one, is glad to have another weapon when the Giants are on offense -- assuming Barden can sustain this type of production.
"He's a guy that can come in and help this team out and do a number of different things for us. I'm happy for him and glad he could step up and play well for us," Manning said.
Added coach Tom Coughlin, "Ramses Barden did some good things for us. It's nice to see."