- Ohm Youngmisuk, ESPN Staff Writer
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- There is no denying Ramses Barden’s massive potential.
The Giants and their fans seem to drool whenever Barden makes a spectacular catch during an OTA practice or during last season’s training camp.
Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride certainly is no different. He wants to get that 6-6, 227-pound wide receiver out there as a weapon.
And now with Domenik Hixon out for the year with a torn ACL, Barden’s progress will likely be sped up so he can move up the depth chart.
But Gilbride said the second-year wide receiver has plenty to improve on – specifically consistency. Barden can make the highlight catches but as the wide receiver admitted recently, he has to do all the right things on a steady consistent basis.
“I think he wants to do it,” Gilbride said. “That is the first step. Now you got to go do it. The spring, you see those little glimpses and get encouragement and you feel alright, it is there. Now can we get it out of you on a consistent basis and can you take advantage of the fact that you are 6-5, 6-6 and reach over somebody and make those catches we think you are capable of making? You see it once in a while, you don’t see it enough. No one wants it more than him.”
Gilbride said Barden has to stick more to basics and stop trying so hard to make the scintillating catch. There was a play during veteran’s minicamp this week when backup quarterback Rhett Bomar appeared to overthrow Barden on a pass. But Gilbride said it was actually Barden’s fault that the pass was not completed.
“He reached up to jump, all he had to do was run,” Gilbride said. “It was a great throw. He stopped to make a spectacular catch. If he kept running, it would have hit him right in his hands. He tried too hard. He wants to make a spectacular catch. He wants to do it so badly it almost hurts you. But I feel encouraged that he is really trying very, very hard and I see skills that benefit us substantially if he can do it on a continual basis. I am betting on him.”
NICKS’ NEXT STEP
Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks sat out the final two practices of veteran’s minicamp as a precaution to make sure his surgically-repaired toe is healing and will be ready for training camp in August. Nicks says he will be ready and he plans to workout at some point in the offseason with quarterback Eli Manning.
Gilbride said Nicks needs to get healthy and continue to improve with the help of assistant coaches.
“(Working with Manning) will help but what he needs is the coaches with him and telling him what to do,” Gilbride said. “Eli will help certainly, catching as many balls from him and try to use Eli as an extension of the coaching staff will certainly be beneficial to him. But he needs to be here with the coaches telling him what to do and also the opportunity to compete against somebody who is playing him defensively trying to shut him down.”
BEATTY VS SEUBERT
Like general manager Jerry Reese, Gilbride is high on tackle Will Beatty. Reese had said Beatty will compete with David Diehl at left tackle in training camp for the starting spot. Gilbride said, however, that it is not a matter of Beatty beating out Diehl but more Beatty outplaying guard Rich Seubert in camp.
“It is not can Will beat out David at left tackle,” Gilbride said. “It is can Will play well enough at left tackle that you would move David in, so he is really beating out Rich Seubert. Whether that will happen or not remains to be seen. (Beatty) has played real well and has had a good spring. But you are beating out a guy who is maybe the heart and soul of your offensive group. He is not surrendering that position without a fight. Richie kind of embodies everything that you want in an offensive lineman.”
Beatty needs to improve his technique more than anything because he already possesses “very special” athletic abilities according to the offensive coordinator.
Gilbride also said tackle Guy Whimper needs to show he can be versatile enough to play guard to be the team’s seventh offensive lineman on game days. Whimper has been rotated in with the first team at times during offseason workouts.
DO MORE THAN CATCH IT LIKE BECKUM
Like Barden, second-year tight end Travis Beckum has tantalizing offensive skills and athletic ability. Beckum has had some great catches in practice. But he needs to put everything to together to earn playing time on the field.
“He has got a long way to go in terms of utilizing that athleticism and doing things right and doing it in a consistent way,” Gilbride said. “We are not asking him to be a point-of-attack prototypical tight end. That is not his forte. But when we put him out in space, he has some special abilities. But you still have to block out there and run the routes the right way and still get open. He has made some spectacular catches but he is not necessarily doing the things that you have to do to get open on a consistent basis.”
While safety Antrel Rolle may want to play some Wildcat, Gilbride didn’t sound like he was going to install any Wildcat plays into the package anytime soon… Part of Coughlin’s final message to the team before they dispersed for the summer was, “don’t do anything that you wouldn’t be proud of if it was on the front page.”… Wide receiver Mario Manningham was excused from practice… Defensive end Justin Tuck did not participate in the final two practices of minicamp with what he said was a “hangnail.” Coughlin said Tuck is not injured and that he's just sore and “probably wear and tear.”... Gilbride said backup quarterback Jim Sorgi will be Manning's backup unless something "extraordinary" happens in camp... U.S. Army Lt. Col. Greg Gadson, who lost both of his legs while serving in Iraq, returned to Giants camp this week and spoke with the team at the end of veteran's minicamp and drew an applause from the team. Gadson inspired the team during the Giants' Super Bowl run in the 2007 season.