With Kevin Boss gone to the Oakland Raiders one of the primary areas of interest since the New York Giants began training camp several weeks ago has been how, or if, they could replace the player who started at tight end for them the past three seasons.
Results have not really been encouraging. Travis Beckum has just two catches, and has drawn the wrath of head coach Tom Coughlin and offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride for not running correct routes. We know Beckum will never be a blocker, so he has to be a pass catcher. This is his third year in the system. If he can't understand what he is being asked to do and run correct routes by now, you have to wonder when that will ever happen.
Bear Pascoe has to be a solid blocker, and he really has not been at either fullback or tight end thus far. Whatever the reason, he has been disappointing. Jake Ballard has looked OK, and had a nice catch Monday against the New York Jets, but I would be surprised if the Giants think of him as a primary tight end option.
Daniel Coats and Christian Hopkins were not factors Monday and don't look to have legitimate chances of making the team.
If you can go by Monday's results, the Giants seem to have figured out how to utilize some combination of their tight ends and rookie fullback Henry Hynoski to open holes in the running game. It is in the passing attack where the tight end spot has really been problematic.
Coughlin talked Tuesday about the Giants' inability to control the middle of the field with the passing game. That is usually the job of the tight end, and what the Giants had hoped Beckum would be able to do once Boss left for Oakland. Preseason results have not been encouraging. Beckum is rarely targeted, which likely means he is rarely open. He dropped one red zone pass over the middle that, while contested, is a ball a quality tight end must catch.
If Beckum can't do it, what alternatives do the Giants have? Not many good ones right now. The waiver wire is unimpressive. Seattle's John Carlson, a potential trade target with Zach Miller now a Seahawk, is out for the season with an injury.
Maybe someone the Giants see as an upgrade will shake loose when final roster cuts are made this weekend. If not, the Giants will just continue to hope one of the guys on their current roster steps forward.