With Giants TE Evan Engram expected to be out 2-4 weeks, it will be up to Rhett Ellison to pick up the slack. And head coach Pat Shurmur already knows he's up for the challenge.
Ellison is an all-around tight end, in that he can receive and make plays as well as block efficiently no matter the play call. It's that versatility combined with his gritty personality on the field that Shurmur likes to see.
"I'm fond of Rhett, who he is as a player and as a person," Shurmur said after practice Wednesday. "He epitomizes a player that you want on your team. He's very good at what he does, he can line up anywhere, he finds a way to make plays. Some guys just have a knack for that. He finds a way to make plays. Very trustworthy and very tough, and he's wired like a football player, and that is what you're looking for."
Shurmur even compared Ellison to one of the Giants greatest players in history -- TE Mark Bavaro.
"I made the analogy, and this probably isn't fair because I don't know Mark Bavaro that well, but I sensed the same kind of aura when I met him the other night - just a tough guy that's going to do what he's asked and let the chips fall," Shurmur explained. "That's what Rhett is."
Ellison has already showcased his receiving skills with a nice touchdown grab in the first half against the Texans on Sunday. Though he doesn't have Engram's speed or leaping ability, Ellison is dependable and finds ways to get open.
Over his three games, Ellison has caught all six of his targets for 60 yards and his lone touchdown.
Shurmur says it shouldn't be a problem to implement Ellison more into the offense with Engram out. It just takes a little tweaking.
"We just go out and play," he said. "There's a few little things that you would only do with Evan in there, then there's other things that we'll do with Rhett in there. We just tweak it. There's plenty of plays, and we'll just kind of tailor it toward what those guys can do."