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Beckum looking to improve, but still missing practice

ALBANY - Since the moment they drafted him, the Giants have been trying to find a spot for Travis Beckum. His missing nearly all of training camp this summer isn't helping, just as his absence from last year's preseason with injuries slowed his progress.

Beckum had been dealing with a tight hamstring, returned for one practice and has missed the last several days. He's one of the tight ends who are unavailable to the team, but his role as a receiver who lines up all over the field is a bit different from the blockers'. Or it would be if he could be healthy.

The Giants were hoping Beckum's blocking would progress to the point where putting him on the field would not be like waving a flag to the defense and telling them a pass is coming.

"I have to have a mixture of both [blocking and receiving] to kind of make me not so much of a one-dimensional player," he said.

Running hills, not routesWR Steve Smith said he had an MRI on his groin last weekend that showed a slight strain. He should be back on the field next week after the preseason opener against the Jets.

"I ran today on the hill pretty hard, so it's getting better," he said Thursday. "You just don't want to rush out there and do something [to hurt it more]."

Giant stepsLS Zak DeOssie was stepped on during a punting drill. "The language he used, he didn't pick it up in English class," Tom Coughlin said of DeOssie's response. Asked if perhaps he learned it by watching the Jets on "Hard Knocks," Coughlin said, "I don't know that show." . . . S Michael Johnson (back) and CB Terrell Thomas (legs) did not practice.

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