It's one thing to sweat out a roster spot. It's another to be a factor when the regular season rolls around.
Coach Brian Daboll believes the Giants have a handful of receivers in the latter boat as clubs must reduce their roster to 53 players by 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 30. Speaking to reporters the day after he saw his offense complete nearly 80 percent of its passes on a whopping 54 attempts, Daboll was asked about filling out the receiver depth chart beyond the household names. He wouldn't call them the "next" players in line.
"I would just say [it's about finding] the five best or six best player or seven best, however many we're going to keep," Daboll said. "The guys that have been out there and producing, Collin Johnson, David Sills, they've stepped their game up. And they're right in the mix, not just to make a team but to play. So again, like I said, everybody's got to earn their job, earn their role, do a good job of the things they need to do, and make the most of their opportunities when they get them."
Sills, who had five catches for 56 yards in Sunday's preseason victory over the Bengals, appreciated the sentiment.
"That's definitely something that's awesome to hear, but there's constant competition in training camp," Sills said. "I think we've had good competition in our room this whole training camp. We've got another week of competing against the Jets and have a joint practice with them, so I'm just going to try to put my best foot forward this week and carry it into the game. Hopefully everything will work its way out from that. I'm just going to continue do the same thing that I've been doing this whole training camp and try to go out there and make plays and put my best foot forward."
View photos from the home preseason opener between the Giants and Bengals at MetLife Stadium.
Sills has been around long enough to know not to get too high or low.
Originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the Bills in 2019, when Daboll was their offensive coordinator and Joe Schoen the assistant general manager, Sills has yet to make an opening week roster. He was released at the end of the summer in 2019 (by the Bills) and 2021 (by the Giants), and spent the entire 2020 season on injured reserve after fracturing his foot in Giants training camp.
Sills is now squarely in the mix among a versatile group of receivers, which ranges from the 5-foot-8 Wan'Dale Robinson to the 6-foot-6 Collin Johnson.
"I think we are all very different receivers," said the 6-foot-3, 211-pound Sills, who made his regular-season debut in Week 7 last year and played in four games with one start. "Everybody in the room has different strengths and different things that they can keep getting better at. Even myself, there are areas of the game that I need to improve on, and I think if you asked anybody in our room, they would say the same thing.
"It's super fun to be able to be in a room with all those guys where you're looking to improve your game, and you can look at some of these other guys where they have some attributes that maybe you're trying to add to your game. You can ask them and kind of pick their brain about what they thought on this or how they do that. Just different things like that. Definitely having a very versatile room is cool – for me at least – because I'm looking to improve my game in every way that I can. Having all these different types of receivers, it's very cool to be able to kind of pick their brain."
Sills does the same thing with his starting quarterback and vice versa.
Since he joined the Giants, Sills attached himself to Daniel Jones, and the two have spent off-seasons working together.
"I definitely don't think it hurts," Sills said. "We have been able to build a good connection over the last couple years. I think it's been paying off out there in practice and in the game the other day. He kind of knows where I'm going to be, I know where the ball is going to be. So, it's something that I had put a lot of time in to get to this point, but like I said earlier it's not like the job is finished. We still have another week of training camp. Just looking to get better and compete. Dabes [Daboll] says that's what he wants, are guys that are going to compete every day, and I feel like we've got a good group of guys that are willing to do that and always trying to put their best foot forward every day."
Of course, that group also includes the star of Sunday night's comeback win. Alex Bachman caught 11 passes for 122 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winning score from Davis Webb.
"That whole group played great together, and Bachman [has] been here basically the same amount of time that I have, so it's really good to see him perform really well," Sills said. "You can tell that there was a lot of excitement over him making plays because he's been here for a while and has a relationship with a lot of guys on the team. It was very good to see that. Exciting all around. The locker room was awesome after the game. It was very exciting to see that."