In recent days, there's been significant speculation about the New York Giants going into 2014 without a traditional fullback and instead using the tight end in that role. It's something Larry Donnell hinted at after Organized Team Activities (OTAs) and something tight ends coach Kevin M. Gilbride confirmed on Monday. But he didn't just confirm it, he took it a step further and detailed, very specifically, how the tight ends will play, perhaps, the largest and most important role in Ben McAdoo's brand new offensive system.
"We're really looking to develop a number of overall tight ends who can do it all," Gilbride said. "Within this offense, we put the tight ends in the backfield. It's a big, big part of what we do within this offense.
"I would characterize [the tight end position in this offense] as the 'jack of all trade.' With having them be in the backfield, having them play that fullback role, splitting them out as a No. 1 receiver or a No. 2, as well as an inline tight end. It's a jack of all trades role."
Gilbride repeatedly stressed the importance of not only one player emerging as an all-around tight end, but the importance of having multiple players emerge as an all-around tight end due to their need for, as he put it, a few "jack of all trades" at the position. He also noted the frequent use of dual tight ends within the offense, as well as their aforementioned use at the fullback position.
"We're looking for the complete tight end to do it all, but we also need guys who are role players; guys who can be specialists in certain areas," Gilbride said. "Right now, they've all got a shot at doing it. They're all good in certain areas, but not as good in other areas. They need to develop."
Thus far, Gilbride says none of the tight ends have separated themselves from the pack, stressing that they all need to continue improving upon their weaknesses. However, he's "excited" about what he'll see now that the pads have come on and what he'll see this Sunday when they take on the Buffalo Bills in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game.
"In order to become a proven tight end in the league, you have to start somewhere. And that's where a lot of our guys are," Gilbride said. "In order to become an established tight end, you have to come from somewhere."
Make no mistake about it, the current crop of inexperienced Giants tight ends are going to either make or break McAdoo's brand new offense. They are going to play a very meaningful role, will be used at fullback, wide receiver and tight end. They will block and they will catch. They will line up all over the field and come out of the backfield. And they will certainly be among Eli Manning's top options once the ball is snapped.
Lace up your boots, folks. It may be a bumpy ride out of the gate.
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Tags: Ben McAdoo, Buffalo, Buffalo Bills, Eli Manning, Football, Kevin M. Gilbride, Larry Donnell, New York, New York Giants, NFL