After coach Tom Coughlin said earlier this week that the offense is “way ahead” of where it was at this point last year, Manning put up a big practice during Thursday’s organized team activities. The franchise quarterback, who is entering his 12th season, threw two touchdowns during 11-on-11 drills, one to tight end Adrien Robinson and the other to wide receiver Preston Parker. Manning is relishing the second offseason in offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s system.
“It was important having this last month – watching the film, talking a lot about the mechanics, the footwork, being able to go outside with him and working on a lot of drill work,” Manning said recently during OTAs. “A lot of it is stuff I wasn’t able to do last year. I was coming off the ankle surgery, I had a new offense – of lot of things going through the mind, trying to figure out concepts.
“This year, I understand the concepts. I’m still working on it, but I’m concentrating on the footwork and the mechanics and the timing of everything. It was great to have that this year and kind of get back to the basics of everything. I feel comfortable, I feel real good right now.”
Manning finished the season as the #10 fantasy quarterback, but was #2 over the final six weeks, when OC Ben McAdoo said that the team finally played the way it wanted to play. In Odell Beckham, Manning finally has a stud receiver. The free agent signing of receiving specialist Shane Vereen and the return of a (hopefully) healthy Victor Cruz give Manning two more weapons to utilize in the passing game. He looks like a great value for those who want to wait on the position until the 9th or 10th round.
Giants TE Larry Donnell's blocking had made him a liability. So the Giants pulled him from games on run downs, in lieu of better blocking tight ends Daniel Fells and Adrien Robinson. Donnell didn't start three of the last five games.
Donnell knew his weakness, had a goal and attacked.
"I was trying to refine my game so I can be better in the run game. I did some things, changed it up a little bit weight-wise and all," Donnell said this week after the Giants' first organized team activity workout. "The big problem with me is my hands used to go too wide. People used to get their hands inside of me, inside my chest and I lost a lot of battles there."
"We want to see him step up in the areas that are not natural for him, the blocking areas, for example," coach Tom Coughlin said during last season. "And obviously ball security."
Donnell had four lost fumbles, in part because he often found himself with his feet off the ground and in compromising positions. But that's more a mental mistake than physical.
So the focus this offseason was on blocking. There was a lot to fix.
Donnell averaged 82% of the snaps through the first 11 weeks, but played just 69% over the final six games. He finished the season as the #11 TE in both standard and PPR formats, but did not crack 60 yards or find the endzone in the final six games. He had the 17th-most targets (5.2 T/G) over that span, after seeing the 7th-most (6.1 T/G) in the first 11 weeks. If his blocking and ball security improve, he should see his snaps rise, and in turn his targets and production.
Tuesday, September 2, 2014, 8:15pm
The Giants are hoping that, as they hit the season opener with TEs Daniel Fells, Larry Donnell and Adrien Robinson in a platoon situation, each one got better after a preseason that forced all of them to compete for reps. The team abandoned the hope that one would surface as the ideal all-around candidate after a few weeks of training camp and opted for the "by committee" scenario that tight ends coach Kevin M. Gilbride said would work, though it wouldn't be ideal.
But will it?
Asking Tom Coughlin yielded little in the way of answers. The team cut Kellen Davis over the weekend but could bring him back for his blocking. When the coach was asked if he was settled on a starter for the season-opener against the Lions, his answer was brief and didn't say much for the players he had.
Donnell led all TEs in receiving but his blocking was a major question. As we've said all along, this is a situation to stay away from until someone emerges...
Saturday, August 30, 2014, 9:36am
Davis, 28, was signed by the Giants this offseason after spending last year with the Seattle Seahawks. He was a key figure this summer in an open competition with the Giants that included Robinson, Daniel Fells and Larry Donnell.
There really doesn't appear to be a TE1 at the time for the Giants and there was talk it would be more of a committee. The offense is still a bit of a mess, so until one emerges offensively, stay away from this situation.
Monday, August 25, 2014, 6:43pm
It has reached the point where the Giants conceded they don't have a true No. 1 tight end, only four limited players (if they keep all four on the final roster) with specific skill sets they plan to use accordingly.
"That is not necessarily what the plan was [entering training camp]," coach Tom Coughlin said. "But the plan has evolved to that, where people can be utilized for their skills in different ways."
It's an ugly fantasy situation and one to stay away from, at least until someone can emerge. But the entire passing game seem to have a ways to go first. The story said Adrien Robinson and Larry Donnell are presumably around for the long haul of 2014. Veterans Daniel Fells and Kellen Davis are also in the mix. Every day, the order they take the field seems to change.
Wednesday, August 20, 2014, 3:04pm
In preparation for Friday night’s fourth preseason game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium, Giants QB Eli Manning did his damage inside the 20-yard line today in practice. The two-time Super Bowl MVP quarterback threaded touchdown passes to wide receivers Marcus Harris, Rueben Randle and Corey Washington, in addition to tight end Adrien Robinson.
Manning has had a quiet preseason as he continues to learn Ben McAdoo's quick-hitting offense, but if things start to click, he should have a bounce-back season. We're not expecting fantasy QB1-type numbers, but he could certainly be useful in a QBBC/streaming strategy.
Sunday, August 17, 2014, 10:43am
Giants TE Adrien Robinson said, “I’ve been waiting for a chance to make plays like that.’’ The Giants have been waiting for it, too. Saturday night, the third-year tight end finally showed some of the potential general manager Jerry Reese was talking about two years ago when he called Robinson “the JPP of tight ends.’’
With the Giants facing a fourth-and-16 situation, Robinson broke open down the middle of the field — he said it was “like the Red Sea’’ — and hauled in Ryan Nassib’s pass for a 26-yard gain. On the next play, Nassib again found Robinson, this time for 33 yards. They were the two most significant plays Robinson has made in a Giants uniform.
Granted this was late in the game against backups, but the Giants need someone to step up at the position and this could at least give Robinson a shot to compete with the first team. So far this preseason, the Giants offense has been non-existent and could possibly use a spark by Robinson.
Friday, August 15, 2014, 11:41am
Jordan Raanan of NJ.com listed several players 'on the bubble' for the Giants:
Even on a day when four of the Giants' top five wide receivers didn't practice, WR Mario Manningham didn't work with the first team. He'd be a long, long, longshot at this point if he didn't have a track record of success.
Adrien Robinson began the summer working with the first-team offense. He's since fallen back in the tight end rotation. It's possible that he doesn't even make the team because of too many mental mistakes and drops. Still like his chances though. He's the best receiving TE on the roster.
Sunday, August 10, 2014, 9:48am
Through two preseason games, Giants TE Adrien Robinson has one catch for nine yards and two total targets. He was listed last in the team's first "unofficial" tight end depth chart released a few weeks ago and did not appear in the first half of Sunday's preseason game against the Steelers. Most of those reps went to Larry Donnell.
"We got guys that are hurt and we still got three preseason games left," he said. "So whenever I go out there I'm just going to try and make a play."
Robinson said he wasn't upset when he saw the depth chart and understood it for what it was: A motivational technique by the coaching staff to bring him along this preseason. After drafting him in the fourth round of the 2012 draft as a project pick, the team had hoped this would be his breakout season.
The good news for Robinson is no one is really standing out at the position. Beat writers say Donnell has been impressive in camp but it hasn't translated to the field. Eli Manning has always loved to target his TEs, especially in the red zone.
Monday, August 4, 2014, 10:06am
The Giants’ search for a new tight end continues.
On Sunday night, Larry Donnell got the start against the Bills, which made sense given the praise he has garnered in training camp. But Donnell didn’t do anything worthy of praise in the Hall of Fame game. The good news is that none of the other tight ends did, either.
Targeted twice, Donnell caught one pass for 13 yards. Daniel Fells caught one for 10. And they’re the only two tight ends who actually got in the game.
Monday, July 28, 2014, 5:54pm
The crux of the Giants tight end problem, with six weeks until the regular season begins, continues to be this: Their new offense wants to rely on the tight end to a significant extent, but it still doesn't really have a tight end on which it can rely.
"Right now, we're looking for that complete tight end who can do it all," Giants tight ends coach Kevin M. Gilbride said Monday. "But we also need guys who are role players -- guys who can be specialists in certain areas. If he's best at executing a certain block, he's going to have the opportunity to make that block in the game. If he's best at running a certain route, he's going to have the opportunity to run that route in a game. So you need to have that all-around tight end, and then you also need to have specialists, guys who are great at a particular role."
Sunday, July 27, 2014, 9:48am
According to multiple people within the Giants organization who requested anonymity in order to speak freely on the matter, the Giants have informed their tight ends that there is a good possibility that a fullback won’t make the final 53-man roster — leaving all of those duties up to the tight ends. Though injuries, personnel shifts and observances in the preseason could change the team’s plans, they entered the year hoping to keep their best four tight ends and give themselves some options on cut-down day.
Imagining a Tom Coughlin team without a hard-nosed presence at fullback is difficult to do, though it’s more a reflection of the offensive evolution around the NFL. Some scouts around the league believe that the league will eventually retreat back into a run-heavy offenses that emphasize ball control, but for now, bolstering options in the passing game make the most sense.
Free agents Kellen Davis (Seahawks) and Daniel Fells (New England) along with Larry Donnell and Adrien Robinson have been asked to learn the new wrinkle. While it will likely give a job to one of these guys, none are expected to be fantasy worthy. However, it looks like the Giants will have a new look on offense running the ball.
Thursday, July 24, 2014, 4:10pm
The Giants don't have a definitive starter at tight end no matter what the depth chart says, and, as we wrote yesterday, that is not a problem right now.
In the meantime, Tom Coughlin said he's giving equal reps to each player in hopes that a few will separate from the pack and that all will be able to play in games.
In the short-term, it appears that Coughlin has no interest in making a snap decision. Injuries, inevitably, will also help him parse out the depth chart.
"Plenty of time for that," Coughlin said. "We don't have to rush into anythi
Monday, June 23, 2014, 3:03pm
Jordan Raanan of NJ.com: "Giants TE Adrien Robinson showed something this spring (that he can be a serviceable pass-catching option), but it doesn't appear to me this team has a true starting-caliber tight end on the roster."
Monday, June 9, 2014, 12:17pm
The Giants like their tight end to be a reliable run-blocker and an occasional helper in the passing game. Anyone who can fit that description has a chance to be on the field -- whether it's Adrien Robinson, Larry Donnell, Daniel Fells, Kellen Davis, whoever. I wouldn't touch any of them in fantasy football, and I wouldn't go into this season super-worried about whether the Giants have a tight end who can catch 70 passes. They don't want one. They don't think they need one. So whatever your expectations may be for Adrien Robinson this year, there's a pretty good chance the ones the Giants have are even lower. But they're also probably less worried about it than you are.
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