As the season approaches, we will take an in depth look at the defending champions.
Projected Starter: Martellus Bennett
Backups: Bear Pascoe and Adrien Robinson
Player to watch: Martellus Bennett. The Giants made tight end a priority during free agency after losing both Travis Beckum and Jake Ballard to long term injuries during the Super Bowl. Bennett was targeted heavily by the Giants and he has big potential. He has a massive frame of 6’6”. He has soft hands and athleticism. He is a fantastic blocker and wants to get out in the field more. After backing up Jason Witten for four years in Dallas, Bennett is primed to fulfill his potential now that he has a chance to start. With Eli Manning and tight end coach Mike Pope at his side, Bennett has a chance to shine under the New York lights.
Strength: A combination of Manning and Pope, the tight ends coach, can make players better and develop unknown players into reliable options for the Giants offense. Pope is the best in the business and there is a chance that Bennett, Bear Pascoe or rookie Adrien Robinson emerges as a difference maker this season.
Bennett has cleared the way for himself this preseason and secured the starting spot on the roster. Eli Manning is known to like his tight ends and loves to look for them over the middle.
Robinson, the team’s fourth round draft choice, has been labeled by general manager Jerry Reese as the “JPP of tight ends”. Robinson is probably a year away from being a major contributor to this team. By the end of the season we should see him on the field, flashing his potential and making a contribution.
Weakness: Lack of experience. Pascoe is the only one on this roster that has NFL experience with the Giants. He has started 11 games in the past two seasons as either a tight end or a fullback. Bennett played in 31 games with the Cowboys over four years, but has not experience with Giants other than the preseason. Robinson, being a rookie, obviously has zero NFL experience.
Hit or miss: The entire squad. This entire unit will either be contributors or dead weight. It remains to be seen how good Bennett can be as a pass catching tight end. He was primarily a blocking tight end in Dallas. Bear Pascoe ha only 22 receptions in the past two years with the Giants. Tight ends on the Giants are no longer meant for only blocking. This team has become pass heavy and Manning relies heavily on his tight ends to come up big on third down and over the middle of the field.
Mike Pope took Ballard and Pascoe and developed them into starters. Both were relatively unknown and he could do the same with Bennett and Robinson. If either can grasp the play book quickly and gain Manning’s trust, both could be major contributors this season.
About the Author
Written by Matthew Stapleton
Ridgewood, New Jersey