ALBANY - Domenik Hixon's goals are pretty simple.
"Just trying to be perfect," he said. "Trying to have that perfect practice and the perfect game."
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Perfect timing. As the Giants prepare for their second preseason game, all of those questions about the wide receivers remain unresolved. In the nearly nine months since Plaxico Burress shot himself in the leg, we've learned more about gun laws and plea bargains and the politics of pressing charges than we have about how the Giants plan to replace him.
Sure, they drafted two receivers who have looked good in training camp. And they remain convinced that Hixon and Steve Smith can get the job done. But until they do, well, they haven't.
The next chance for it to happen comes Saturday night in Chicago. "It's obviously an objective this week," Tom Coughlin said. "Some of the guys did some nice things [in practice] and hopefully they carry over to the game."
For Smith, who sat out Monday night's opener with a knee problem, it will be his first time lining up as a starter. For Hixon, it will be a chance to build on his two-reception performance against the Panthers.
"I felt solid," he said of that game. "The things that we were doing, I felt real in tune with it. Reading the defense and stuff, it felt good."
The Giants entered the season without a clearly defined No. 1 receiver. Hixon is well aware of the perception when it comes to Giants receivers.
"It's a challenge that has been issued to us publicly," he said. "People are saying we don't have a No. 1 and they're not expecting us to do things, but then as a group, we're expecting us to do things."
It's a strange dynamic for the receivers. In some ways expectations are very low. Few think they are capable of replacing Burress and veteran Amani Toomer. Yet in some ways expectations are high because the success of the team could rely on their doing just that.
Hixon said he isn't bothered by those doubters and those who will be disappointed if he or Smith or any of the other receivers fails to put up Plax-like production.
"Can you ever live up to what people want? Probably not," Hixon said. "But the things that the team needs, that's what I hope to live up to and that's what I feel as a receiving corps that we're going to do."
Notes & quotes: DT Rocky Bernard, who came off the non-football injury list this week, broke his media silence and spoke about his desire to see action with his new teammates. "You definitely want to get out there and get some live action, because once the season starts, it picks up a lot," he said. It's unclear if Bernard will play Saturday night after just two full practices with the Giants . . . Panthers running back Mike Goodson was fined $7,500 for his throat-slash after scoring a touchdown against the Giants on Monday.