The New York Giants lost to the Chicago Bears, 20-17, in the third week of the preseason, but it was a huge victory for wide receiver Ramses Barden. That's because he may have saved his roster spot with a strong performance against the Bears.
Barden, who has shown flashes of play-making skills in camp, enjoyed his best game of the preseason against the Bears with three catches for a team-high 46 yards. Plus, he grabbed his first touchdown of the preseason, an 11-yard strike from Eli Manning in the second quarter. If anyone on the Giants needed a big game, it was Barden, but he's not out of the woods yet.
The fifth-year pro likely needs another strong showing against the New England Patriots on Wednesday, August 29, if he wants to stick around (it's the last preseason game before teams cut rosters down to 53 players). And with most of the starters expected to take the night off, Barden should see plenty of snaps. That means he'll have lots of chances to once again impress coach Tom Coughlin, who liked what he saw from Barden last week.
"Ramses Barden played well, and we're encouraged by that," Coughlin said on a conference call on Saturday. "He contributed last night and made a strong statement."
Barden came into camp with hopes of competing for the third wide receiver spot. Fortunately for him, the competition hasn't done anything to pull away. The likes of Domenik Hixon, Jerrel Jernigan and rookie Rueben Randle have been good, but not great during the preseason. So there's an outside chance Barden can push one of them to special teams or return kicks himself when the season starts.
Personally, I'm not sold on Barden, he has big-time tools. So I'm willing to give him a long look against the Patriots. You can bet the Giants will be looking long and hard, too.
Adam Martini is a freelance sports writer who proudly wears his Rodney Hampton jersey on Sundays during the football season. He grew up in Queens, N.Y. rooting for the Giants despite being surrounded by Jets fans. Adam follows back Giants fans on Twitter @PegCitySports.
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