Jerrel Jernigan draws lukewarm reviews from Tom Coughlin

Giants wide receiver Jerrel Jernigan catches a pass Giants wide receiver Jerrel Jernigan catches a pass during drills at training camp on Aug. 5, 2014 in East Rutherford, N.J. Photo Credit: Joe Epstein

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Jerrel Jernigan opened some eyes at the end of last season when he stepped in for Victor Cruz and, for the first time in his career, became a playmaker for the Giants.

He was one of the few bright spots for the team down the stretch and even a bit of a lightning rod for controversy. John Mara, in his end-of-the-season news conference, openly questioned why it took the coaches so long to get Jernigan on the field.

Mara might have to ask that again this season -- or change his query to why Jernigan isn't on the roster -- after Tom Coughlin gave a lukewarm-at-best appraisal of Jernigan.

Asked Monday if the fourth-year player's late-December showing has carried over to this season, Coughlin said: "Not necessarily.''

Ouch.

"He's had days when he's done very well and he's had days when he hasn't,'' Coughlin said. "I don't mind saying the other night . . . he did run by the defender. If he caught the ball, it certainly would have helped us.''

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Ouch.

It might have helped Jernigan, too. But the ball went off his fingers deep down the left sideline.

That was one of three plays that Eli Manning said really changed the perception of the offensive performance on Saturday (along with a high pass to Victor Cruz over the middle and the deep completion to Cruz that he eventually fumbled before the play was negated by a penalty).

Jernigan has been playing with the starters, but the Giants seem to have a young crop of receivers who are more capable of standing out than Jernigan has shown himself to be.

Corey Washington has caught three touchdown passes and Marcus Harris has had an impressive training camp. The Giants also might want to keep Trindon Holliday on the roster as a punt returner. If Holliday does stay, he would take another receiver spot on the 53-man team. That could squeeze out Jernigan.

"That's a continuous battle right now to sort that thing out,'' Coughlin said of the entire receiving corps. "Who's going to be the playmakers? Who are they?''

You also may be interested in: