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How can Will Tye stand out in TE competition?

Posted Jul 21, 2016

Second-Year Tight End Will Tye looks to continue his success from the 2015 season as Training Camp nears: 

Will Tye was more than a good story last season.

While becoming the first player from Stony Brook to appear in an NFL game, he led all rookie tight ends in receptions (42) and receiving yards (464), and tied Oakland’s third-round draft choice Clive Walford for most receiving touchdowns with three. Tye, who was undrafted, released in the first round of roster cuts, signed to the practice squad and activated in October, also went on to earn All-Rookie honors from the Professional Football Writers of America.

When stacked up with veterans around the league, he was tied with Antonio Gates for seventh among tight ends in receptions and receiving yards after the Giants’ bye week. Tye finished strong with three touchdowns in the final four games, setting the table for what could be an even bigger sophomore campaign.

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In order to do so, Tye said the main focus heading into training camp, which opens next week, has been knowing Ben McAdoo’s playbook backwards and forwards.

“The challenges are just to get it down fast,” Tye said. “Obviously you have a split second between snapping the ball and figuring out what the defense is in, whether they’re in zone or man. It’s a real big challenge.”

It should come as no surprise that tight ends are asked to do a lot under McAdoo, who took over as head coach in January after two seasons as the team’s offensive coordinator. They’re in his coaching DNA. Prior to joining the Giants, McAdoo spent eight years as an assistant with the Green Bay Packers, the first six as the team’s tight ends coach.

“We ask the tight ends to do an awful lot— they’re kind of like Atlas,” said Mike Sullivan, whom McAdoo hired as his new offensive coordinator. “They’ve got the world on their shoulders there with what we’re trying to do schematically.”

Whoever can handle that weight over the next seven weeks will make the final 53-man roster.

Tye returns with a healthy Larry Donnell to a tight end competition that includes a trio of young prospects in sixth-round draft pick Jerell Adams, Matt LaCosse and Ryan Malleck. Meanwhile, the Giants added veteran Will Johnson to the mix. The former Steeler is listed as a fullback but also plays H-back and tight end.

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“The tight end position and the receiver position are pretty much two in the same right now,” McAdoo said this spring. “We have a lot of guys going in and out of there and trying to show what they can do and we’re going to give a lot of looks at those two groups and we’re counting on the cream rising to the top.”

The coaches are also counting on the tight ends to help an area that needs improvement: the running game. Blocking is as important as receiving for the position headed up by Kevin M. Gilbride, who keeps harping on the key to success.

“To finish, always finish,” Tye said. “The play isn’t done until the echo of the whistle, not right at the beginning of the whistle but the echo. That’s one of the points of emphasis that Coach Gilbride brings and teaches us -- to finish through."