Extra work in practice led to Nassib-King scores

Posted Aug 29, 2016

WR Tavarres King and QB Ryan Nassib hooked up for two touchdowns on Saturday:   

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Giants’ victory over the Jets in the MetLife Bowl resulted largely from the collaboration that developed last year between a backup quarterback and a practice squad wide receiver.

Ryan Nassib and Tavarres King teamed up for the Giants’ only two offensive touchdowns in the 21-20 triumph, a 27-yarder in the third quarter and the 11-yard game-winner with 2:25 remaining in the fourth. They were King’s only receptions of the game and one-third of Nassib’s six completions.


The two players began working regularly with each other shortly after King joined the Giants’ practice squad last Sept. 30. He remained there through the end of the season.

“Last year when T.K. was on the practice squad, I always tried to grab him to throw to him,” Nassib said today. “Since it was during the season, my (practice) reps were only scout team. I would grab him and some of the young guys that wanted some extra work, and we would just go out and try and throw all our (the Giants’ offensive) stuff. We would go out, do our scout team stuff and then to stay sharp and stay ready, we would work on it for extra time."

“Ryan is a guy that loves to work,” King said. “I love to work. We’ve worked throws. We’ve come in on Fridays and worked some throws together. I guess you can say we have built a rapport together.”

That partnership has helped both players this summer, and paid off for the entire team on Saturday.

“I definitely feel comfortable with T.K.,” Nassib said. “He’s done some great things. It’s been nice to be able to have a guy that you grew familiar with, especially at my position where you get new guys every year. Being able to have him with some familiarity is nice.”

“I had to go to a little double-move post (on the first touchdown),” King said. “I ran up on the corner, got up on him and made him flip his hips. Ryan did a great job, Roger (Lewis Jr.) did a great job taking the middle-field safety out. The O-line held up and Ryan put the ball where it needed to be. It was a great play by the whole offense. The second one, I just ran a little in and out and they just left me wide open. Ryan put it there again and I just ran into the end zone.”

It was a big moment for King, who is competing with several young receivers for a roster spot.  It was his first touchdown since catching a 75-yarder from Aaron Murray in the University of Georgia’s 45-31 victory over Nebraska in the 2013 Capital One Bowl.

Four months later, King was chosen on the fifth round of the NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos. He was waived at the end of training camp, beginning an odyssey that has seen him spend time on the active roster and/or practice squads of five teams. His only regular-season action was a two-game stint with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2014. King caught two passes.


“I’ve been pretty low, real low,” he said. “But I’ve got a positive group of people around me. My family is very positive. It’s awesome to have people in your corner that know and push you to be successful. I’m hungry, I’m hungry for it and I think that’s showing.”

It did on Saturday.

•  Because of injuries to other linebackers, J.T. Thomas took more snaps than planned vs. the Jets, just four days after coming off the physically unable to perform list.

“It was good to get back out there and knock a few guys around,” Thomas said. “We had a good showing with the second group. I feel like we’ve improved our depth, and it surely showed this past weekend. There’s a lot of getting better on my end and on the end of the defense as well.”

“J.T. got a few more reps than anticipated, just because of the health of the linebacker group,” coach Ben McAdoo said. “But he fought through it and was making some nice plays for us during the game.”

Thomas is hoping to see more action in the Giants’ preseason finale Thursday vs. New England.

“There’s nothing like football shape,” he said. “It felt like I played a lot of plays. It’s good to get myself back into shape. I needed those actual game reps, because those are a lot different from what you receive at practice. Over time, I’m sure I’ll be able to get myself back in playing shape. But there is nothing like the experience I had this past weekend.”