The Giants sent a clear message this weekend when they didn't place any claims on players at the position. In doing so – or not doing so -- they showed their faith in the group that once showcased former Giants starter Kevin Boss.
Once the roster was set, no one benefitted more literally than Ballard, whose locker that was once halfway out the exit is now next to Beckum's in the heart of the room. And who used to hang up his pads in the stall next to Beckum? You guessed it. "Boss used to be down here with Travis, and now I'm sitting next door," Ballard said. That answers who was moving on up in the deluxe locker room at the Timex Performance Center, but what about the pie.
Boss was targeted 69 times in 2010, pulling in 35 of Eli Manning's 339 completed passes for a little more than 500 yards and five touchdowns. The next tight end was Beckum with 13 catches for 116 yards and two scores. Pascoe hauled in nine catches, but the majority came in his split-duty at fullback.
Ballard, who began the 2010 season on the practice squad after battling hamstring issues, doesn't see why the three of them can't come up with the same production, if not more. "I don't think it would be crazy for me to shoot for that number," Ballard said of Boss' totals. "Travis needs to shoot for somewhere around that too, and Bear is whenever he can get in there and catch some balls. I don't think it's crazy to expect 60-to-70 balls for all three combined – it's a combination this year. I know we can do it, and we just need to get it done."Beckum, who broke the career reception record for tight ends at the University of Wisconsin, is the leanest of the three and has the ability to be moved around on and off the line. "I think it plays right into my hands and I did a lot of that in college," Beckum said. "A lot of times when you move a tight end, you can see what coverage it is and obviously if you have man pre-snap, it is a big clue. Hopefully, I can cure that and make mismatches against the defense."
The Giants held onto rookie fullback Henry Hynoski this weekend, which means more rotating for Pascoe at the tight end position. But head coach Tom Coughlin "wouldn't exclude" Pascoe from still doubling in the backfield in some capacity. Just like no call is a good call for rookies on cut day, no move may have been the loudest move for the Giants' tight ends. "
(Not bringing in another tight end) means the most," Ballard said. "It's them saying, 'We're comfortable with what we've got and we believe we can win with our three tight ends.' That gives us a lot of credit and makes me feel comfortable with where we go from here."