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Thursday, June 14, 2012
The OC: State of the offense

By Kieran Darcy

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Following the final practice of the Giants' three-day minicamp on Thursday, offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride met with reporters to discuss the state of his unit.

Here are a few nuggets from that session:

• First of all, Gilbride spoke for over 10 minutes, and not once did the name "Eli Manning" come up. Guess that's what happens when your starting quarterback is a two-time Super Bowl MVP and still in his prime. No questions necessary.

• There were questions about rookie running back David Wilson and rookie wide receiver Rueben Randle, but they were addressed here.

• When asked about injured wideout Hakeem Nicks, and whether he might be ready in time for the start of the regular season:

"I don’t know. I’m hoping," Gilbride said. "I've got my fingers crossed -- my knees are hurting from being on them praying. He’s such a big part of what we’re doing."

"The thing that’s a tragedy here is that, there were so many things that we were looking forward to really developing with him, and really taking advantage of this time to focus on developing his entire skill set," he added. "There are certain things he can do extremely well, and certain things -- before you even ask, I’m not gonna get into it -- but this was gonna be a great chance for us to go another step ahead with him, and there’s nothing you can do, he’s hurt."

• In terms of other wide receivers on the roster, Gilbride mentioned that he had seen "flashes" from second-year man Jerrel Jernigan, and also spoke very highly of Brandon Collins, an undrafted rookie from Southeastern Louisiana. "Good speed, great quickness, but also picking up the offense pretty quick," said Gilbride.

• Gilbride wasn't as positive when speaking about the tight end position, lamenting the loss of Jake Ballard, to injury and the Patriots. "Right now, we’ve got a long way to go in that spot," he said.

He didn't exactly give Bear Pascoe, the Giants' lone returning veteran at the position, a ringing endorsement as a potential starter, although he did have some nice things to say:

"You hoped to have Bear as a swing guy," said Gilbride, "a 'B,' a second tight end, that could motion back and play at the fullback position, give you what he’s always given you, which is unbelievable toughness, and somehow making plays that maybe you didn’t think he should be able to make -- he always seems to make 'em for you. Not necessarily as your starting tight end, but right now he’s the starting tight end."

Free agent signee Martellus Bennett was very limited this week because of a hamstring injury, and fourth-round draft pick Adrien Robinson missed most of the Giants' offseason program while finishing up at school.

"You’re hoping Martellus [is the starter], that’s why he was brought here," Gilbride added. "You’re hoping that Adrien Robinson down the road will be the guy. If not, Bear’s gonna be the guy. ... Somebody’s gotta do it."

• In terms of the offensive line, Gilbride continues to be concerned -- particularly because Will Beatty, slated to be the team's starting left tackle next season, has also been very limited because of a bad back.

"We need him," said Gilbride. "He’s gotta be there."

The team has had a lot of turnover on the O-line the last couple of years, saying goodbye to veterans Shaun O'Hara and Rich Seubert, and not re-signing Kareem McKenzie following last season.

"We’re not thin numerically," Gilbride said, "but with experienced proven guys that you can say, 'Hey, I feel real good about them.'"