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Barden looks to make Giant strides

Former Flintridge Prep star working to make more of an impact with New York Giants following first season.

August 10, 2010|By Gabriel Rizk, gabriel.rizk@latimes.com
(AP Photo/Evan Pinkus )

A year ago at this time, Ramses Barden was grabbing notice in his first NFL training camp, working hard to prove himself to a new coaching staff and seemingly mere weeks away from having a chance to make an immediate impact for the New York Giants on Sunday afternoons.

Fast forward 12 months and, from an outsider's point of view, the 6-foot-6 wide receiver out of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo by way of Flintridge Prep remains docked in the same port.

Barden's back in Giants training camp at the University of Albany and again, by all accounts, making a strong showing for himself, still with plenty to prove and still eager to make his first meaningful contributions in a game that counts.

As few beyond the walls of Timex Performance Center, the Giants' palatial practice complex, were witness to Barden's development as a rookie, speculative words like potential, upside and ceiling are still the chief terms by which his value is defined.

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But static as his situation may seem on the surface, Barden points to a different outlook going into his second pro season.

"There's plenty of things that are different," Barden says on a recent August night following his second training camp practice of the day. "Last year was more of an introduction; this year is more of a fine-tuning experience.

"Whereas I've had a year to learn and grow and watch and now I'm starting to apply some of the things I was able to observe into my own game and try and grow and earn the confidence of the coaches and our quarterbacks."

Barden appeared in just three games, sparingly, at that, and finished with one catch on the 2009 season. Never having been given the chance to really succeed or fail on the field, there would appear to be an air of curiosity even within the Giants surrounding his 2010 potential, but also a strong vote of confidence.

"Last year he didn't get a whole lot of playing time, when he did get in he made some things happen," Giants quarterback Eli Manning told reporters in comments reprinted on the team's website. "But he had a really good spring, he's a smart guy, he understands the offense and what's going on, especially for a guy who hasn't had much playing experience. So it'll be good to get him in the preseason games and other games and see how he does. But he's a big target with big hands and he's excited about what he can do and how he can help improve our offense."

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