Giants head coach Ben McAdoo was a tight ends coach for the majority of his Green Bay Packers coaching career. He holds the position in high regard. When he came to the Giants to become their offensive coordinator in 2014, he inherited a unit that consisted of Larry Donnell, Daniel Fells and Adrien Robinson. Not exactly a dynamic bunch.
The school of thought was that Donnell was the best of the bunch with Fells a solid all-around option as his backup. Robinson had been a bust since the day he arrived in 2012 and was only on the roster because GM Jerry Reese hangs on to his draftees in hopes they suddenly blossom.
Since then, the Giants have yet to improve the position with a high-profile free agent or draft choice. They have brought in several UDFAs in Will Tye and Matt LaCosse and drafted South Carolina's Jerell Adams in the seventh round this year, but there is no bonafide star at the position that McAdoo spent a great deal of his career coaching.
With Donnell still displaying the same issues he did as a rookie (ball security, limited yards after the catch, blocking) the Giants appear to be willing to give more reps to Tye and Adams. This past Sunday, in the team's 28-23 win over Philadelphia, Donnell dressed but did not see any targets in the passing game.
Tye was targeted seven times, catching four and Adams grabbed three of his four targets. Many expect this trend to continue going forward. McAdoo was encouraged by what he saw from the two.
"Tye definitely had some wiggle after the catch," said McAdoo. "We knew that from last year. He showed up in a positive way for us yesterday in that regard. Jerell did a nice job for us out there. He did have a pre-snap penalty which we have to eliminate, but he made some progress, too."
McAdoo also decided to give more touches to another rookie, RB Paul Perkins, who split the team's 22 rushes with veteran Rashad Jennings.
"That's how I grew up in this business, to get young players and everyone involved in game days that is up," McAdoo said. "Give them all the support they need to be successful. The way to get young players acclimated to the varsity team is to get them out there and get them going. When the snaps get to December and January, it's not too big for them. It's not the first time they're on the field."
As for Donnell, who suffered a serious neck injury last season, his value and reps may continue to decline. Tye has proved to be a capable receiver who was named to the NFL's All-Rookie team last year and Adams was the best tight end at the NFL Combine last winter.