Jan 222014
Craig Johnson, Minnesota Vikings (June 11, 2013)

Craig Johnson – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants Hire Craig Johnson as New Running Backs Coach: The New York Giants announced on Wednesday that they have hired a new running backs coach, Craig Johnson. Johnson replaces Jerald Ingram who the Giants fired last week.

A native of Rome, New York, the 53-year old Johnson served as the quarterbacks coach for the Minnesota Vikings from 2011-2013. Before that he was with the Tennessee Titans, serving as assistant head coach/running backs coach (2010), quarterbacks coach (2002-2009), and offensive assistant/quality control (2000-2001).

“This is a veteran coach that has coached some great players, like Steve McNair,” said Head Coach To Coughlin. “He’s been around a while and has experience as a quarterbacks coach, as a running backs coach and he’s been a coordinator in college.”

“I’m really excited about the opportunity to join such a great franchise,” Johnson said. “I’ve always admired coach Coughlin during the many years I’ve coached against him. I’ll come here to do my part to help the Giants get to and win a Super Bowl.”

“I think (Johnson) is an excellent teacher and his versatility is going to add a lot to our staff and, of course, to the running backs room,” Coughlin said. “He’ll be an excellent contributor for the coordinator with ideas. His interview was very impressive as we put him on the board. He really did an outstanding job with protections. And he’s talked long and hard about ball security. Pass protection and ball security are both very important to me.”

“I know (Coughlin is) a stickler for (pass protection and ball security) and that’s good,” Johnson said. “He’s a coach that has a great attention to detail and I feel very comfortable being around a coach that stresses that.”

“It’s a challenge (to coach running backs again), because it’s a different spot,” said Johnson. “I broke into coaching as a running backs coach. I feel confident that I’ll be up to the task and I’ll take them where they want to go.  The key is seeing what the players do best and also make sure I am up to date on the schemes. With (new offensive coordinator) Ben (McAdoo) here we’re going to have a new style, a new terminology and a new look and I want to make sure I’m comfortable with that and I’m able to teach it correctly.”

For Johnson’s full resume, see the Coaching Staff section of the website.

Dallas Cowboys Hire Mike Pope: The Dallas Cowboys have hired 71-year old Mike Pope as their new tight ends coach. The Giants fired Pope last week after he had served as the Giants tight end coach for 22 years (1984-1991 and 2000-2013).

Article on Offensive Coordinator Ben McAdoo: Cruz: “We’re all rookies again” in new ‘O’ by Art Stapleton of The Bergen Record

Article on the New York Giants Offensive Line: Snee, Baas and Giants OL cap issues by Dan Graziano of ESPN.com

Article on Wide Receiver Hakeem Nicks: Giants free agents: Hakeem Nicks provided plenty of thrills by Dave Hutchinson of The Star-Ledger

Article on Cornerback Trumaine McBride: Giants free agents: Trumaine McBride played his way into a second chance by Conor Orr of The Star-Ledger

Quotes: WR Victor Cruz on the New York Giants offense under new Offensive Coordinator Ben McAdoo: “(After talking with McAdoo) I’m truly a fan of the offense that he’s gonna put in. He wants kinda up-tempo offense, which I’m excited about, obviously, (spreading) footballs around to the receivers, all around the field. He’s an even keel guy that’s just ready to work and do some good things, and get to know his players, his personnel and put us in the right spot to succeed. So I’m excited for it and working for him as well…I think it’s going to be completely different (from Kevin Gilbride’s offense). It’s gonna be new terminology. I think it’s gonna be different plays. I think it’s gonna be a whole new philosophy. So I’m excited to get my hands around that playbook and really learn this thing inside and out. I do imagine it’s gonna be brand new for us, so it’s gonna be just like we’re rookies coming in, getting the playbook and getting right to it. It gives everyone a clean slate. We have to pick up this offense and make it happen, make it the best in the league. I think it’s definitely a wakeup call for us and a challenge we’re ready for.”

Jan 192014
Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants (October 27, 2013)

Hakeem Nicks – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Hakeem Nicks Not Expected to Re-Sign with New York Giants: According to NFL.com, soon-to-be unrestricted free agent wide receiver Hakeem Nicks is not expected to re-sign with the New York Giants when free agency begins in March.

NFL.com is reporting that two of the reasons why Nicks will not be re-signed are his disappointing play in 2012 and 2013, and a string of team-imposed fines. Apparently, Nicks has been fined repeatedly for being late to team meetings and missing medical treatments. NFL.com says the fines were “in the thousands for each transgression.” Nicks also supposedly was battling through “several” injuries.

Articles on Offensive Coordinator Ben McAdoo:

Article on Defensive Coordinator Perry Fewell: Cramerton’s Fewell talks about tough season, future by GastonGazette.com

Article on Former Giants Tight Ends Coach Mike Pope: What made Mike Pope such a great coach for the Giants? by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com

Article on Safety Ryan Mundy: Giants free agents: Safety Ryan Mundy could be Big Blue’s insurance policy by Dave Hutchinson of The Star-Ledger

Jan 152014
Mike Pope, New York Giants (December 22, 2013)

Mike Pope – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants Fire Mike Pope and Jerald Ingram: The New York Giants announced on Wednesday that they have fired Tight Ends Coach Mike Pope and Running Backs Coach Jerald Ingram. These moves come a day after the Giants announced that they have hired Ben McAdoo as their new offensive coordinator.

The 71-year old Pope served as the tight ends coach on the Giants for 22 seasons. His first stint came was in 1984-1991 under Bill Parcells and Ray Handley. His second stint was in 2000-2013 under Jim Fassel and Tom Coughlin. He also spent one season (1983) as an assistant special teams coach and defensive backs coach. In all, Pope spent 23 seasons with the Giants – longer than any assistant coach in team history. He was on the coaching staff of every Giants team to play in the Super Bowl.

The 53-year old Ingram served as the Giants’ running backs coach under Tom Coughlin for the last 10 seasons (2004-2013). Ingram also worked with Coughlin at Boston College and on the Jacksonville Jaguars.

“Both of these men are very good talent evaluators and, in their own way, are very good teachers,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin in the team’s press release. “I decided to make a change in our staff that I believe will be productive going forward. These are very difficult decisions, but I felt they were in the best interests of the Giants moving forward.”

“Mike (Pope) and I coached together on the Giants staff back in the 1980s,” Coughlin said. “When I returned as the head coach, I didn’t intend to keep anyone from the previous staff. I visited with Mike and made a decision that I wanted him as a part of our new staff going forward, and it was certainly the right decision. He has coached many, many outstanding players in the years that we’ve been here, guys that have made great contributions to our success. Mike has four Super Bowl rings from all four championships the New York Giants have won in the modern era.”

“(Jerald Ingram is) an outstanding football coach,” Coughlin said. “He has done a very good job here. I think the record speaks for itself in terms of the guys that have played for him and are very loyal to him. He’s a man of principle and has been a very loyal assistant for a lot of years. Jerald demonstrated again last season what a good teacher he is when we had injures at the running back position and we signed Peyton Hillis. In one week’s time, Peyton started in the third-down nickel package, which, in our system, is a complex job.”

For a complete listing of the New York Giants coaching staff, see the Coaching Staff section of the website.

Articles on Offensive Coordinator Ben McAdoo:

Oct 292013
Jerry Reese and John Mara, New York Giants (October 6, 2013)

Jerry Reese and John Mara – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NFL Trading Deadline Passes: The NFL’s trading deadline passed at 4:00PM on Tuesday. The New York Giants did not make any trades before the deadline this week.

General Manager Jerry Reese Addresses the Media: The transcript and video of Tuesday’s media session with General Manager Jerry Reese are available at Giants.com.

Head Coach Tom Coughlin on WFAN: The audio of Tuesday’s WFAN interview with Head Coach Tom Coughlin is available at CBSNewYork.com

Assistant Coach Media Q&As: Transcripts and video of Tuesday’s media sessions with the following assistant coaches are available at Giants.com:

DE Mathias Kiwanuka on ESPN Radio: The audio of Tuesday’s ESPN Radio interview with DE Mathias Kiwanuka is available at ESPN.com.

S Antrel Rolle on WFAN: The audio of Tuesday’s WFAN interview with S Antrel Rolle is available at CBSNewYork.com

Sights and Sounds from Giants-Eagles Game: A sights and sounds video from the Giants-Eagles game is available at Giants.com.

Article on the 2013 New York Giants: If Not Yet a Winner, the Giants Are a Different Team by Bill Pennington of The New York Times

Article on General Manager Jerry Reese and Head Coach Tom Coughlin: Giants GM would never get rid of Coughlin by Steve Serby of The New York Post

Articles on General Manager Jerry Reese:

Article on the New York Giants Offense: With More Run and Less Pass, the Giants Go Old-School by Jonathan Clegg of The Wall Street Journal

Article on the New York Giants Defense: Giant improvement came when Fewell simplified defense by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Article on RB Andre Brown: Andre Brown ‘ready’ to start for Giants after bye by Zach Braziller of The New York Post

Article on WR Hakeem Nicks: WRs coach: Nicks ready to break out by Matt Ehalt of ESPNNewYork.com

Article on LB Jon Beason: Giants Spotlight: Middle linebacker Jon Beason lives up to hype vs. Eagles by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com

Aug 052013
Stevie Brown (27), Antrel Rolle (26), New York Giants (August 4, 2013)

Stevie Brown and Antrel Rolle – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants Return to Practice on Tuesday: The Giants did not practice on Monday. The next practice is on Tuesday from 1:30-3:45PM. For a complete training camp schedule and Giants.com Q&A guide, see the Training Camp section of the website.

A sights and sounds video from training camp is available at Giants.com.

Hakeem Nicks Tells Fans to Relax: WR Hakeem Nicks, who has missed the last four practices with a groin injury, answered questions from the press at a commercial shoot on Monday. Nicks said that staying healthy for all 16 regular-season games in 2013 is not only important for the Giants, but also for his future contract situation. In his four seasons with the Giants, Nicks has never played a full 16-game regular-season schedule.

“It’s important,” said Nicks. “My career counts on it, this season counts on it. The offense, just being what I am to the team, I think it is going to make a big difference…This is a critical season for me. I just look at it like I am going out here to play ball. Stay healthy, change my diet a little bit, those are things that I am focused on. I just want to have fun and win every game if we can. That is the main focus.”

Suffering foot and knee injuries in 2012, Nicks said he was feeling good before injuring his groin. “I felt real good,” said Nicks. “Honestly, I felt like I had my burst again, I felt like I was in and out of my breaks. I felt my timing was back with Eli the way it normally was.”

“Honestly I feel like (the critics) are just on the outside looking in, so they really don’t know the situation,” said Nicks. “I know the situation. I’m the one wearing these shoes. So to all the fans, like I said before, it’s not about me being lazy or anything like that. It’s about making the right decisions, about making sure that when it is time to go for the season opening game, I will be full ready to go and it’ll be on.”

“That’s nothing I really worry about,” Nicks said. “It’s football. It happens to the best of us. I think it’s the media market that I’m in, they like to put it on blast a little bit more. It comes with the territory. You just got to know, it’s football, anything can happen when you step on the field…There is nothing you can really get upset about. Everybody is entitled to their own opinion. You can never change that. But I know what I am obligated to do. I know the way I am going to play this game. And I am going to be playing it for a long time.”

Article on Head Coach Tom Coughlin: Canton Will Call on Tom Coughlin by Art Stapleton of The Bergen Record

Article on Tight Ends Coach Mike Pope: A Longtime Giants Coach’s Weird Ways by Jonathan Clegg of The Wall Street Journal

Article on RB David Wilson: Giants’ David Wilson Intent on Showing Pass-Catching Abilities This Season by Conor Orr of The Star-Ledger

Article on TE Brandon Myers: Giants’ Brandon Myers the Next in Line by JJ Conrad of The Bergen Record

Article on DE Damontre Moore: NY Giants Rookie Damontre Moore Proving Worth the Risk So Far by Ralph Vacchiano of The Daily News

Articles on LB Kyle Bosworth:

Articles on the Defensive Backs:

Article on PK Josh Brown: Giants’ Josh Brown Building Up Toward the Big Field Goals by Tom Rock of Newsday

Article on the Impact of Winning NFL Championships: Parcells’ ‘Blood Kinship’ Strikes Chord with Giants by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Aug 032013
George Martin, Bill Parcells, New York Giants (August 3, 2013)

George Martin and Bill Parcells – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Bill Parcells Enshrined Into the Hall of Fame: Bill Parcells, who served as Giants’ defensive coordinator and linebackers coach (1981-1982) and head coach (1983-1990), was officially enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday. Former Giants’ defensive end George Martin (1975-1988) introduced Parcells. Giants’ co-owner Ann Mara, President/CEO John Mara, and Head Coach Tom Coughlin were in attendance for the ceremony.

For a complete list of Giants in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, see the Hall of Fame section of the website.

August 3, 2013 New York Giants Training Camp Reports: The Giants held their seventh training camp practice on Saturday afternoon at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center. The next practice is on Sunday from 1:30-3:45PM, but this practice is closed to the public. For a complete training camp schedule and Giants.com Q&A guide, see the Training Camp section of the website.

Injury Update: Not practicing on Saturday were WR Hakeem Nicks (groin), CB Corey Webster (groin), OL Justin Pugh (concussion), FB Henry Hynoski (PUP – knee), OG Chris Snee (PUP – hip), DE Jason Pierre-Paul (PUP – back), DT Markus Kuhn (PUP – knee), and CB Terrell Thomas (PUP – knee).

“(Pugh is) getting better,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “He’s feeling better.”

“(Webster) does (feel better),” said Coughlin. “But he seems to be doing okay. Hopefully it’s not going to be long.”

“I would hope (Nicks will practice on Tuesday),” said Coughlin. “That’s the plan.”

Coach Media Q&As: Transcripts and video clips of Saturday’s media sessions with the following coaches are available at Giants.com or BigBlueInteractive.com:

Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video of Saturday’s media Q&As with the following players are available at Giants.com or BigBlueInteractive.com:

Articles on Head Coach Tom Coughlin:

Articles on the Running Backs:

Article on OT David Diehl: Diehl to Haters: ‘Keep Bringing It’ by Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPNNewYork.com

Articles on the Defensive Line:

Article on the Linebackers: Linebacker Spots Up for Grabs at NY Giants Training Camp by Ebenezer Samuel of The Daily News

Article on the Defensive Backs: For Giants Secondary, Communication is the Key by Dave Hutchinson of The Star-Ledger

Articles on Former Giants’ Head Coach Bill Parcells:

Quotes: Tight Ends Coach Mike Pope on tight ends Adrien Robinson and Larry Donnell: “We want to get Adrien on the field. He’s a terrific target and runs well. We’d like to see if Larry Donnell can make a contribution. Certainly size and talent-wise, he has that. But he missed all the spring and mini-camps because of a broken foot, so he’s virtually just starting right now. So, how fast can those guys grow? The faster they grow, the more effective we’re going to be. I do think we have, size-wise, the biggest group I’ve ever worked with. These guys are 278, 280, 282, and they can run fairly well. We haven’t had that around here since I’ve been here. That’s since 1982. We haven’t had that size player. So that should add to our running game on the edge, and should enable us to block some of these defensive ends and some of these outside linebackers that are in this league now. Hopefully, with the quickness and speed of our running backs, that can be a huge contribution: the way we block the edge of the offense and are more effective in the run game.”

Jul 152013
Bear Pascoe, New York Giants (October 28, 2012)

Bear Pascoe – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Offseason Breakdown: New York Giants Tight Ends

If a tight end can’t block, he won’t play for the New York Giants. It’s that simple. In the Giants’ system, blocking is as critical, if not more important, than pass receiving. The traditional down tight end (hand in the dirt, lined up next to the offensive tackle) is often called upon to block not only linebackers, but defensive ends as well. The problem is that quality two-way tight ends are hard to find. With the proliferation of spread offenses in college, the two-way tight end is disappearing at many schools. There are 32 NFL teams and a very limited supply of quality prospects coming out in the NFL Draft. One-dimensional, pass-receiving, H-Back types (motion tight ends who often do not line up in a down position) are more plentiful, but the Giants’ offense does not tend to feature these types of players.

The good news is the Giants have 71-year old Mike Pope, arguably the best tight ends coach in the NFL. He’s been with the Giants seemingly forever (1984-1991, 2000-present) under head coaches Bill Parcells, Ray Handley, Jim Fassel, and Tom Coughlin. Pope has a history of developing players with good size and just enough athletic ability into solid, two-way tight ends.

The tight end position has been a bit of turnstile for the Giants since Jeremy Shockey (2002-2007) was traded to the Saints in July 2008. Since then, the primary tight end on the Giants has changed from Kevin Boss (2008-2010) to Jake Ballard (2011) to Martellus Bennett (2012) and now to Brandon Myers (2013).

Including Myers, there are six tight ends on the Giants’ current training camp roster. Historically, the team tends to keep three tight ends on the 53-man roster.

Brandon Myers: Myers was signed by the Giants as an unrestricted free agent from the Oakland Raiders in March 2013. He was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Raiders. Myers had a breakout season for the Raiders in 2012, catching 79 passes for 806 yards and four touchdowns. His 16 regular-season starts in 2012 were more than all of the starts he had combined his first three years in the NFL. His 79 catches also dwarfed the 32 he had from 2009-2011.

Myers lacks the size that the Giants usually look for in their primary tight end. He’s only listed at 6’3’’, 256 pounds. The Giants usually like their tight ends an inch or two taller and 15-20 pounds heavier. He’s also not very fast or quick for the position – the Raiders used him more as a short- to intermediate-receiver. But Myers seems to be a smart, heady player with just enough athleticism, a feel for getting open, and good hands. His blocking was reportedly subpar in Oakland last year. A painful shoulder injury (sprained AC joint) could have been a factor. Still his lack of size and strength is worrisome in the blocking department.

“We think he’ll be a great piece to our offense and I think (Eli Manning) will have a relationship with him really quickly,” said General Manager Jerry Reese.

“He is a good receiver,” said Pope. “I think at the Raiders he was more of an intermediate receiver. And now our passing game does allow the tight end to get more vertically down the field – flag routes – double seam routes – post routes – that kind of thing. And he appears to have the skills to get those balls. He has a little bit of a jet that can accelerate and go get a ball that is a little deeper. You may not think he is going to reach it, but he has that little bit. So we are very interested to see him in pads.”

“I’m with a great organization, a proven team with a proven quarterback, in an offense that if you’re a tight end and you can get open, you’ll get a lot of opportunities to catch the ball,” said Myers.

“Obviously, my blocking (in Oakland) wasn’t up to par,” said Myers. “But we kind of went over some things, (Pope’s) technique that he could teach me to help me out, so I think it will be a good fit.”

Coughlin doesn’t appear concerned about his blocking. “He’s a well-rounded tight end,” said Coughlin. “He’s a blocker in the running game as well. We’re looking forward to that.”

Bear Pascoe: The Giants picked up Pascoe in 2009 after the 49ers cut him as a rookie. Pascoe is a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none type of player whose strength is his overall versatility. Pascoe plays tight end, H-Back, and even some fullback for the Giants. In fact, he filled in at fullback for the bulk of the 2010 season when Madison Hedgecock was placed on Injured Reserve. And Pascoe may have to do so again in 2013 with Henry Hynoski’s knee injury casting doubt on his availability.

Pascoe does not really stand out as a blocker or receiver, and needs to improve his productivity and consistency in both areas. But Pascoe is big (6’5”, 283 pounds), solid, and dependable. Pascoe finished the 2012 with only four catches for 35 yards and one touchdown. In four seasons with the Giants, he has 26 catches for 252 yards and one score.

“We’re very confident that Bear, no matter what role we place him in, he does an outstanding job,” said Coughlin. “Bear has had opportunities to play in that slot, B tight end, Y tight end, and he’s always done a nice job.”

“This is kind of what I do. This is my role,” Pascoe said. “The more I can do, the better it is for the team. It’s one of the reason I’ve been here for five years, is I have versatility.”

“(Pascoe) has had to do that for us whenever the fullback has been hurt,” said Offensive Coordinator Kevin Gilbride. “It hasn’t been Henry (Hynoski) but it was Madison Hedgecock before. And so he has done a great job with that. It is not an easy thing. He is not a natural fullback but he is one of those guys that just whatever you ask him to do, he goes out and does it with as much courage and determination as anybody. As a result of that he plays above – sometimes – what your expectations might be. We asked him to do a very difficult role – he does it very well.”

Pope thinks having Pascoe playing fullback may make the Giants’ offense less predictable. “Bear has played a good bit of fullback for us,” said Pope. “Actually he played about 160 snaps at fullback last season. So he is aware of the assignments. There are still some finite things that he can get better at there. But it gives us a great deal of flexibility because when Hynoski is in the game they pretty well know that there are some limitations as to where he will line up. He is pretty much a backfield player. When we can put Bear in with one of these other guys, now we can do a lot more things as far as open formations – a little more difficult for the defense to predict where they can’t just key on one of the those guys and say the ball is going there. So that helps us.”

Adrien Robinson: 2012 was mainly a redshirt year for Adrien Robinson, who the Giants drafted in the 4th round of the 2012 NFL Draft. Robinson made the 53-man roster, but was only activated for two games. He did not catch a single pass. Robinson combines good size with excellent athleticism. He has very good speed and agility for a big tight end. However, he is a very raw player who will need a lot of coaching up. He was not targeted much in college (only 29 receptions in four years), but he displayed an ability to get down the field, adjust to the football, and make the difficult catch. Robinson has the physical ability to be a good blocker.

Because Robinson’s college has trimesters, he missed Organized Team Activity (OTA) practices his rookie season. “I think going through OTAs this year, seeing how slowly the coaches install the plays and understanding how everything feeds off each other, I realize that I did miss a lot last year by coming in so late and trying to jumpstart everything,” Robinson said. “I’ve been here since the (offseason) program started, and it’s a new year. I’m just trying to work my way up.”

“I think the biggest improvement I’ve made is in my understanding of the offense and knowing the plays, my assignments, where to line up, and how to read the defenses,” said Robinson. “Last year, I didn’t get many game reps, so I had to watch a lot, which helped, but it’s not the same as lining up on the field.”

“The biggest thing I want to show the coaches is that I fully understand the offense,” said Robinson. “I understand everything that’s going on, and I want to earn their trust. Once they are confident that you know what you’re doing, you’ll get on the field.”

“Adrien Robinson appears to have gone into the Land of the Believers and yes he has been making some good progress,” said Pope. “He is understanding assignment-wise. But the plays are still not the lines on the page that we give them for instruction. So he is doing a lot of the assignment things correctly. Now we have to get him to adjust to the way the defense is playing on each particular play and to make the best decisions based on how the defense is playing. But he is running well and he has his weight down some. The quarterback is starting to find him. He is hard to miss – he is the tallest tree in the forest out there. So he is a good target. But we are more than mildly pleased with the progress that he has made from an assignment standpoint.”

“Adrien was in that group of guys who came in, didn’t really know much about working with an offensive tackle on a double team block or how do you read coverages, what happens if they blitz here, what do I do?” said Pope in June. “It has taken him some time to learn and feel a little more comfortable. His speed and athletic skills did not surface as quickly as we hoped because he was thinking his way through every single play which slowed him down. Now he’s developing some confidence and he knows a little bit more about what he is doing. These last three or four weeks have been the very best weeks of his Giant career.”

“Wish we could have gotten him in some games more last year, but it just didn’t work out for us to get him in some games,” said Reese. “But we really think – the guy is 280 pounds, he ran a 4.57 (40-yard dash) at his Pro Day, and we think he can really develop into a terrific blocker. In practice, he flashed some things that were really like some ‘Wow’ things in practice. So we’re expecting him to make a jump this season and get in and get going and give us some contributions as our big blocking tight end. And he can catch the ball really nice. So we expect to bring him along, and hopefully he’ll contribute for us.”

Larry Donnell: Donnell went undrafted and unsigned in 2011. The Giants signed him as a street free agent in March 2012 and Donnell spent 2012 on the Giants’ Practice Squad. Donnell has excellent size (6’6”, 270 pounds) and is a good athlete. However, he is raw and needs a lot of coaching. Unfortunately, Donnell missed most of the spring work with a right foot or ankle injury that forced him to wear a walking boot.

Jamie Childers: The Giants signed Jamie Childers to a Reserve/Future contract in January 2013. Childers was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the St. Louis Rams after the 2012 NFL Draft. The Rams waived him in August. Childers needs a lot of technique work not only because of his small school background but because he played both quarterback and tight end in college. Lacking bulk (6’5”, 250 pounds), Childers is built more like an H-Back than true tight end. He’s athletic and has good hands. He probably will never be more than a finesse blocker. According to press reports, Childers did flash as a receiver in spring workouts.

Chase Clement: Clement was signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Giants after the 2013 NFL Draft. In college, Clement converted to tight from defensive end. He has good size (6’6”, 262 pounds) and strength and could develop as a blocking-type tight end with better technique. He was not used much as a receiver in college with only 14 career receptions in four seasons. Clement isn’t overly fast.

“When I first looked at (Clement) I had visions of Jake Ballard,” said Pope. “Just because he was a good blocker on the goal line. (LSU) seldom ever threw him the ball. But when the ball was snapped he had kind of that tough-guy mentality – old school. But he really had a motor…He is not going to be an all-world receiver way down the field as far as being explosive and flexible, but he has pretty good football savvy…I think there is something to work with there.”

Summary: Brandon Myers is clearly the #1 guy heading into training camp and will likely be the Giants’ primary tight end, though due to his size, it would be easy to see the Giants using him some at H-Back too. Myers could be the type of receiver who Manning quickly develops chemistry with. But Myers needs to block better than he did last year in Oakland. Pascoe is a limited athlete and his attention will be split between fullback, H-Back, and tight end. The real question is how fast can Adrien Robinson develop? He has the size to be a good blocker and the athletic abiity to be a good receiver. Can he put it all together, and if so, how quickly? Don’t completely discount Donnell (two-way tools), Childers (receiver), and Clement (blocker) either, but their best shot is probably the Practice Squad unless someone gets hurt.

Aug 022003
Q&A: Tight Ends Coach Mike Pope

Interview Conducted by BigBlueInteractive.com Reporter WalterB

BBI: With all the speed you have at the tight end position, and with the potential combination of two fast tight ends who can both catch and run, what kind of effect could this have on defenses? Could such a combo be revolutionary in opening up an offense compared to what we have seen in the past from more traditional two tight end formations?

Michael Pope: First of all to have one each at the end of the line of scrimmage enables you to run the ball off tackle to either side. A defense can’t predetermine what side you will run the ball too. When you only have one you can run inside weak, but you can’t run strong or outside very well. This gives us the ability to force the defense into some forms of alignment that can either take one side away and give us the other. Or if they take both sides away it isolates Toomer and Hilliard on the outside with only single coverage. At the same time because we have some speed at the position, what looks like a run formation might very well be one of our best pass formation – because we can line up with one back, with two tight ends and two wide receivers. We can also create two back type looks with one of those tight ends playing like a fullback. We can also put them out in space and look like a two minute type offense, spread everybody out and get the entire field spread, which Kerry likes a great deal. The versatility of doing that gives you lots of headaches if you are a defense. On three consecutive plays without making a substitution off the sideline you can have three entirely different looks and sets which requires them to do a lot of preparation, and we think limits the amount of things they can do against us. The fact that we can run down the seams with so much two deep coverage making a comeback is important. This is the type of defense that Tampa popularized, and the Rams play a great deal of, and New England uses. The popularity of that particular coverage coming back now gives you only two deep people, and if you can get four people down the field with speed, now you have a two on one fast break on one side and potentially a two on one fast break on the other side. So, if you don’t have runners inside then that is not something you can consider offensively. A lot of teams don’t have speed at the inside position where our two tight ends predominantly play. The other thing it enables you to do is play Shockey like a wide receiver. For the tight end on one side you can then put Jeremy out in space like a single receiver, put him over on the slot side – so that requires that they have a plan to cover him no matter where he lines up. The receiver as a tight end in the backfield or as a flanker on the other side. So that is quite a concern for the defense.

BBI: So, you will make an effort to try to isolate him in situations that you feel are advantageous?

Michael Pope: Yes, if he is being bracketed by linebackers or a safety playing in tight we would be foolish to leave him there the whole game because they would just take him out of the game. He is a big play maker for us so as soon as teams have a plan to do that we immediately begin to try to deploy him in different places with our formation calls. And those plays that are not different for our quarterback since it allows him to become one of those receivers out there. It is quarterback friendly because the routes are not a whole new separate group of routes. So where he lines up is where the difference is. Doubling him out in space is a whole lot different than doubling him near the tackle where they can get quick access to him.

BBI: In terms of coaching a moving tight end formation where the second tight end is moving, is it difficult for the new players to master that position?

Michael Pope: Very difficult. When Shiancoe came in as a rookie for example- the first mini-camp I only played him as a tight end because that is a spot you have to learn. That position has a set of principals like working with the tackle, working with the other linemen, working with the fullback in blocking combinations. So that is like its own little world. So I started him there so he can learn that spot. Ultimately we drafted him so he could come in with Rivers and Inkrott to replace Dan Campbell. We were not looking to replace another Shockey, we were looking for a Dan Campbell. So that is what Dan Campbell was for us. He was that movement guy who played those different spots. Jeremy did not play much in the backfield last year. He will play more this year. Because now he is another year older and smarter. He understands the concept of the offensive scheme. So these young guys you have to start them in one spot and they have to learn that so that they have a home base, then you can begin to move them to the other spots. So the second mini-camp and the first part of training camp here Shiancoe has been primarily a fullback character. But in other packages they have to be the X, the Y, the Z and the fullback somewhere in the realm of our offense. So that position other than the quarterback position has to know all of these different things. It is quite tedious mentally to learn them all because you have to learn all the site adjust rules that a wide receiver knows if you are playing a wide receiver position – all the hand signals that a quarterback uses, you have to learn those. And at the same time pull them off under the tension of a game. It’s not an easy road. Some think it’s just a tight end who lines up beside a tackle. But this is mentally one of the most challenging spots to play on a team because they play so many different positions and they have to learn all the rules that apply to those different positions.

BBI: How will the fact that you have so many receiving tight ends influence the way a three wide receiver set is used with your regular receivers?

Michael Pope: It won’t affect it, it will complement it. Because defenses only have so many preparation repetitions in their week in getting ready to play a team. If they are working on a lot of offensive sets and plays out of those they can only get very good at a couple of them. So if you can show them two tight ends and two backs, three tight ends and one back, two tight ends and two wide receivers with one back, spread out formations that look like two minute or third down situations, but they come on first down. So they have to prepare all their different defenses looks for all those combinations. They would have to have a thousand reps to get everything covered. Obviously that is not going to happen, so what we are trying to do is diminish their preparation time for any one of our sets, and as the game progresses we try to determine which one is the most effective.

BBI: What is the difference in the way tight ends are used today versus the way the Giants used them back in 86 and 90?

Michael Pope: I think it is a little bit similar in some ways not so much here but at other places where I have been where I had guys who could run real well. Mark Bavaro was the prototype tight end in this organization. So he was dominating enough to be a good blocker. Defenses were not quite as complicated back in the mid 80s. He was better off because he was just working mostly against linebackers. Now people put a safety in the game sometimes just to help cover Jeremy because he can run, he is faster than Mark was. He is not as powerful yet; he is faster. Dinkins and Shiancoe both run real well, and Rivers runs well, so what we are looking for are the mismatches. In the NBA the bigger guy on the smaller guy, or the one against a guy who does not hold up well in coverage. And that is what we are tying to get are mismatches where we can find them. So this is not like anything the Giants have ever had before. I don’t there has ever been this much speed at this position. We have to prove that this is the right answer obviously. But we never had these types of athletes play this position in all the years I was here before.

BBI: Potentially do you think this could revolutionize the way offenses are played?

Michael Pope: I think the position has come back into favor a great deal because the coverages are going back more to the skeleton two deep type of coverage. People have gone for more speed in the linebacker positions and so these big guys on smaller linebackers is an advantage. Dallas for example has smaller linebackers but they all can really run fast, but none are six foot five. So if we can put the big size there, even if it is a contested throw we at least like to think we have a chance to get the rebound.

BBI: How would you compare Shank to Shockey in terms of his rookie development?

Michael Pope: He is much further behind initially and it is no ones fault. It is just that Jeremy came out of Miami where they play very intense competition. Shank is coming out of a small school, they did a very good job of training him there. He is way overdeveloped for a typical small school player. In the combines he did more reps on the bench press than anyone there. He ran faster than anybody there. He isn’t the typical small school player coming out. From that stand point his development is physically much further along than you would normally see, and it is probably as close to Jeremy development wise, but knowledge and experience and playing against real good players that is where he is behind.

BBI: Could the team keep four tight ends?

Michael Pope: That’s Jim’s call. We are going to keep three probably, and if the fourth one is one of the very best special team players than he will have a chance to be on the team. The third and fourth tight end are going to get on this team from a special team stand point.