Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
ALBANY, N.Y. -- Giants wide receiver Steve Smith isn't the kind of person who feels a lot of stress. In fact, he doesn't seem fazed by the fact that he'll likely begin the '09 season as the Giants' de facto No. 1 receiver.
Smith's already emerged as a clutch player on third downs. When the Giants had a third-and-6, Eli Manning often went to Smith. Now, the former USC star wants to show that he can be more of a downfield threat. But first, he needs to get back on the practice field. He's missed the last couple of days with a knee injury, but there's a chance he returns for tonight's 6 p.m. ET practice.
Smith had a quick answer when I asked him if things felt different without Plaxico Burress in camp.
"No, because he never really practiced anyway," Smith said. "But he did sit in meetings with us, and he could really help me out in that regard."
Smith said he hasn't spoken to Burress since he was released by the Giants. And by the way, Smith's younger brother, Malcolm, will be a weakside linebacker for USC this season. So how does he think the Trojans will do this season?
"No. 1 for sure," Smith said. "We have the early game against Ohio State, but after that, it should be fine."
Smith and fellow Pac-10 receiver DeSean Jackson (Cal) have a friendly rivalry dating back to their high school days. Smith, who was a year ahead of Jackson in school, said he always checks out Jackson's stats to see how he's doing. And he'd read reports that Jackson is tearing up Eagles camp right now.
Update: Smith (knee) wasn't able to practice in Wednesday's second session. He did catch balls out of the JUGS machine for about 20 minutes after practice.