Tight End competition may end in a tie

Posted Aug 25, 2014

The Giants may enter the 2014 season with a "Tight End by committee" mentality

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – One of the key positional questions facing the Giants when training camp opened a month ago was: tight end. After a month, it appears the answer will be strength in numbers, or tight end by committee, when the regular season opens two weeks from today in Detroit.

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“That is not necessarily what the plan was,” said coach Tom Coughlin, whose team concludes its preseason schedule at home Thursday night vs. New England. “But the plan has evolved to that, where people can be utilized for their skills in different ways.”

Larry Donnell has remained No. 1 since the team first released a depth chart early in training camp. He has three receptions this preseason, tying him with Adrien Robinson for the lead among the tight end candidates. Kellen Davis has the group’s only touchdown, on a three-yard pass from Curtis Painter in Indianapolis. Daniel Fells missed time with a knee injury, rookie Xavier Grimble returned to the field this week after missing most of camp with a strained hamstring, and another new pro, Jerome Cunningham, joined the group on Aug. 5.


“I really think that there will be a group of guys that will play and that will help us in different situations, and try to be matched up according to the circumstance,” Coughlin said. “I think that is the way it is going to go. I think there are a lot of roles for that spot.”

Coughlin was asked how much of a gap exists between the contenders at that position.

“I think it is very close,” he said. “I think it is very difficult to see who has done what better than someone else.”

Donnell played all 16 games for the Giants last season. Signed as a rookie free agent in 2012, he was waived in the final cutdown and spent that year on the practice squad. The memory of being released is primarily why he refuses to take anything for granted, despite seeming to stand as the first among equals. The Giants must shed 15 players from their 90-man roster by 4 p.m. tomorrow and get down to the 53-man regular-season limit on Saturday.

“You never get too confident,” Donnell said. “You just hope that the work you’ve been putting in has brought you to a place where you can stick around and help this team. Right now, I am just focused on this game right now and after that, we will worry about that.”

The coaches would be very happy if one of the tight ends demonstrates the capability to be the all-round player they seek at tight end. Donnell is not there yet, but he has been praised in camp by both Coughlin and offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo. And he is confident he can become both a fierce blocker and reliable receiver.

“To have that in your mind, it is a great feeling,” Donnell said. “It gives you something to smile about and gives you something to get up and go to work about, feel good about. When I first came here, I was trying to make a name for myself, but that is what I am still trying to do. I just come to work every day, enjoy my job, love it, and do what I can.”


  • Coughlin said the starters will play “15-18 snaps” Thursday against the Patriots.

  • Offensive linemen Brandon Mosley and James Brewer again missed practice because of back ailments and were sent to the team doctors for examination…Left guard Geoff Schwartz traveled to North Carolina to have his dislocated right toe examined by renowned foot specialist Dr. Robert Anderson.

    John Jerry (right guard) and rookie Weston Richburg (left guard) continued to play with the first team.

    Coughlin disputed the notion the Giants need to add offensive linemen.

    “We need the guys that we have back,” he said. “We are not going to find any new people anywhere, I don’t think.”

  • Responding to the daily inquiry about first-round draft choice Odell Beckham Jr.’s continued absence, Coughlin said, “I think he is very frustrated. His whole personality is held in check because he is not able to do the things that he wants to do.”

    Asked if he is frustrated, Coughlin said, “He and I, both our personalities are held in check.”

    Coughlin confirmed that Beckham will not play Thursday. The rookie will sit out all of the Giants’ five preseason games.