EAST RUTHERFORD - One pass in four games isn't the only thing New York Giants rookie receiver Rueben Randle has caught.
The second-round draft pick was on the receiving end of nationally televised criticism by NBC football analyst Cris Collinsworth on Sunday, and it has left him a little confused.
During the Giants' loss to the Eagles in Philadelphia, Collinsworth said that some people with the team were questioning Randle's work ethic and were hoping that he grows up and becomes more of a professional.
Randle, who has had limited action with a veteran receiver corps, learned of Collinsworth's comments on Twitter. He admits he still is trying to learn a very complex offense, but he added that no one on the coaching staff has complained about his work ethic.
The bottom line for the Giants (2-2) is that they might need Randle on Sunday against the winless Cleveland Browns.
Hakeem Nicks missed his second straight game with foot and knee issues, and the receiving ranks took an unexpected hit early this week when Ramses Barden showed up at work Tuesday with what was determined to be a concussion. Neither Nicks nor Barden practiced Wednesday, leaving Randle as the No. 3 receiver behind Victor Cruz and Domenik Hixon.
Instead of talking about playing time, though, Randle spent more time being asked about Collinsworth.
"I am not really sure what he is referring to, so it is kind of hard for me to comment on it," Randle said of the criticism by the former receiver who has won an Emmy for his work as a sportscaster.
Randle admits he has not produced as much as he had hoped.
"I mean, as a rookie you come in and struggle and things like that," the former LSU product said. "My job here is (to) just continue to work hard and to trust in my teammates and the coaching staff each and every week, and just take advantage of the opportunities they give me."
Teammates defended the rookie.
"Rueben, he's young and he's trying to figure out what it takes to compete and get mentally and physically ready for upcoming games," quarterback Eli Manning said. "He has talent. He's been working better, having an understanding of just how we work and how we prepare each week and he's been getting more reps these last few weeks, so he's doing a good job of putting everything together. He's going to have to play for us whether it is this week or sometime, he's going to have to make some plays for us, and I believe he can do that. He can help us out."