Must be a dream for any assistant coach to have two receivers as good as Odell Beckham Jr. and Victor Cruz on the same team. Isn't that right, Sean Ryan?
"Yes. You always want expectations through the roof and that kind of pressure," the Giants wide receivers coach cracked. "It's a dream."
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"Really, it is [a dream job]," Ryan said. "I think every coach feels pressure. I was just trying to get a laugh. When you get to work with that kind of talent, but even more than the physical talent, the way they go about doing their jobs. The competitiveness they have when they come to work every day. That's what really makes it great."
Beckham, who missed four games with a hamstring injury last year, was spectacular in his 12 games, catching 91 passes for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns and easily winning The Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year award. Cruz suffered a torn patellar tendon in his right knee in Week 6 and had reconstructive surgery, but he has made a remarkable recovery and is nearly back to full strength.
"To have them back out there has been outstanding," Ryan said. "You see flashes of what it could be if we keep progressing. We're going to be smart to make sure there are no setbacks with these guys."
As good as Beckham was last year, Ryan thinks he can get better.
"He's got 12 games in here, and I think it's critical to understand there's plenty of room for improvement, whether it's consistently beating man press at the line of scrimmage, his routes, his top of the routes, his finishes," Ryan said. "There's every aspect of the game that he can improve on. It's not one thing specifically. He's doing what we're all trying to do, which is to get better every day."
Ryan is particularly heartened by Cruz's return.
"I think his movement is good," he said. "The most important thing to me is how confident he feels getting in and out of breaks and really trusting [his knee]. He's got the confidence. I'm happy with what he's done so far."
Ryan also is impressed by the depth behind Cruz and Beckham. That starts with fourth-year receiver Rueben Randle, who had 71 catches for 938 yards and three touchdowns last season. But Randle also was benched twice for missing team meetings and frustrated the coaching staff with his inconsistency.
"To me, Rueben has the tools to be a great receiver," Ryan said. "For him, like most of these guys, it's consistency. It's every single play, every time he's in, whether it's practice or a game. He has to give us 100 percent effort and focus. He's an intelligent football player. He has size. He's deceptively fast. And he can get behind defenses and he has excellent ball skills. He's got the tools that are in place. It's consistency."
And what about newly acquired veteran James Jones?
"He's another guy who's very serious about his craft," Ryan said. "Comes to work every day, pays attention to meetings and he's good in that [meeting] room. You can tell he's run a lot of routes and has a lot of experience, and it jumps out at you."
And one more promising development: Corey Washington in his second year.
"He took a lot of steps forward his first year, and he has continued that in training camp," Ryan said. "Just his general knowledge, what he sees. When he first came in, he didn't see as much. That's gotten better. He's got a better idea of our offenses and he sees the defenses."