EAST RUTHERFORD, N. J. -- The absence of wide receiver Victor Cruz, who remains unsigned, was certainly no surprise to head coach Tom Coughlin.
However, the absence of receiver Hakeem Nicks was unexpected. Just a night before, he was in New York City to be honored by the United Way.
"Yeah, sure I did," said Coughlin when asked if he expected Nicks, who is recovering from offseason knee surgery, to be present at the camp.
Coughlin said that had Nicks attended, he likely would have been limited physically.
"I mean he would have some kind of limitations, I'm sure. Not right away, but that's not the reason (for Nicks' absence)," Coughlin said.
The OTAs, which are voluntary, are the ideal time for the offense to work against the defense and fine-tune individual skills and timing with teammates old and new. While Coughlin said he understands the voluntary nature of the OTAs, as a coach, he always prefers players attend to build chemistry and conditioning.
"I expect everybody here. I'm trying to get our team better," Coughlin said.
With Nicks and Cruz missing, it was an opportunity for other receivers to step forward. Louis Murphy, who signed in the offseason and holdovers Jerrel Jernigan and Rueben Randle got most of the reps.
Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said Murphy was one of the players who would work in Cruz's slot position while Cruz remained out of camp.
"I've been here three years; I know the offense and just have to go out there and make some plays and contribute to my team," Jernigan said.
Randle expressed a greater comfort level with the offense. He noted that one of the things he is hoping to show the coaches he can do this summer is pick up yards after the catch.
"Last year I didn't have a lot of deep balls -- caught slants and bursts and trying to get about 15 yards extra after the catch. That's something I want to show that I can do this year," he said.
Murphy, meanwhile, who was the most consistent of the three receivers in the Giants' first OTA practice, said the Giants' offense is a little different than what he's been accustomed to in the past, but so far, he likes how things are coming together.
"It's a little different but I like it a lot," he said. "It does a lot of different things that works to my benefit. I like to stretch the field, I can go into the slot, play outside -- I can do it all. But I do like to stretch the field."