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New York Giants Blocking Battle: John Conner Vs. Henry Hynoski

July 5th, 2014 at 2:55 PM
By Jen Polashock

As the lingering fireworks are still being intermittently set off by the public, another explosive area of the New York Giants offense is still under the watchful scrutiny of head coach Tom Coughlin and his new coordinators. Who will be on the 53-man roster at fullback?

There’s much ado about the offensive line as well as the tight end position, and the transparent need for improvement in blocking for offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s presumed west coast-style of offense. While his philosophy appears to be unpretentious about his system views, the blocking concern — especially in the run game — can be his issue. McAdoo has frequently stated the importance of the ability to pass protect as well as “be multi-dimensional and be able to run, pass protect, catch and block…it’s critical so it’s not only knowing how to block, it’s knowing who to block.”

"Our identity is to be sound, strong and tough, and we will be committed to discipline and poise," McAdoo has said. "At this point in time, we're not there but we're getting close. I feel good about the direction in which we're headed. I think football is a simple game. You take care of the football and if you're sound and smart, you have a chance to win on Sunday."

The new coordinator led us nowhere fast on who he’d prefer lined up in front of (or alongside of) his running backs.

“Henry and John (Conner) have both done a nice job. We mix, we’re in and out of personnel groups and those types of things at this point. You like to use the fullback. The way I was raised, a fullback’s a big part of the things you do. Henry and John have both done a nice job so far," he said.

New running backs coach Craig Johnson has been faced with many inquiries about the still-pending status of running back David Wilson as well as the competition among the other new-to-the-Giants tailbacks. As far as query on the old school smash-mouth guys? Not so much.

However, both tailbacks have been vocal when the subject was broached about playing for Big Blue.

Fan favorite fullback Henry Hynoski admitted to being nervous about a new offensive coordinator and system, but once Giants mini-camp transpired, he felt differently.

“Being a fullback is being a fullback. The first thing you have to do is lead block, number one. Then you have to catch passes and the third thing you have to do is run the ball,” Hynoski said. “Here you might be asked to do all three things more than we’ve been asked to do in the past. It was mainly lead blocking in the past but now it’s going to be more towards that even distribution. There is certainly going to be opportunities for the fullback to get the ball, but we can’t forget the number one thing is to lead block, especially isos, outside zones, lead plays, that type of thing…now a lot of what we’re working on is a fast-paced type of deal. You see that every day in practice, it’s kind of like a no-huddle that we start out with. That’s kind of the emphasis right now. It’s really high energy, everything we do, we want to be quick in and out of the huddle, get up and run the play, come back and do it again. There’s not a lot of wasted time, not a lot of wasted movement. It’s a very high energy, intense type of offense.”

Once Hynoski went down to injury last season, fullback John Conner stepped up very pleasantly and didn’t shy away from the blocking aspect of his role. He’s also no newbie to change in an offensive system. He is, however, a man of fewer words.

“A little bit [of change]. [McAdoo] has his roles that he wants to get across and his whole demeanor. It’s a little bit, it’s not much different but you can notice a little bit…just two different personalities, I guess. That’s all I could really see. Coach Gilbride, he had a great perspective on things, and I think McAdoo has the same thing, just different personalities,” Conner stated. “In this offense — offense or defense — it’s the more you can do. If that’s special teams, anything. Whatever you can do, that’s going to help anybody in this system.”

Different personalities with one common job to win out should make it a quite understated battle in this month’s training camp. May the man with the best pancake block win.

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Tags: Ben McAdoo, Craig Johnson, David Wilson, Football, Henry Hynoski, John Conner, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Tom Coughlin

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