Brandon Myers has been widely criticized this season. The New York Giants' newest tight end, signed in the off-season to replace Martellus Bennett, was a disappointment as a run blocker and not contributing as much in the passing game as anticipated.
Fast forward past two straight Giants' victories and Myers is now being discussed as a strong contributor in both pass protection and in the passing game. According to tight ends coach Michael Pope, Myers is continuing to progress this season.
"Our No. 1 goal is to protect the quarterback. We do a little bit more than what they did at Oakland with keeping (Myers) in the protection. His contributions have been significant, though," the coach said this week. "He's really made some really good progress as a run blocker ... He has been productive when we have been able to or selected to put the ball in his direction. He's been a very solid catcher ... Hopefully, he'll continue to make progress in that area and that is his long suit coming here -- as a receiver -- but he has been a very good fundamental blocker for us on the edge."
Adrien Robinson, the Giants' young, talented tight end who has been sidelined with a foot injury for the entirety of the season, remains a question mark. There is no timeline for his return, Pope said.
The tight ends coach remains optimistic about Robinson, who has been practicing on a limited basis and could be a major second-half contributor for the offense.
"When players of this kind miss practice, you don't learn to pilot the space shuttle in a flight simulator," Pope said. "He hasn't had the chance to actually get in the activity, in the game situations. It seems just when he's ready to make a move and we have plans to get him in the game, he's unfortunately been hit with an injury. Hopefully he'll contribute in the second half here, but being on the sideline has not replaced his game experience."
One young tight end who has found himself in game situations in Larry Donnell, who has earned praise from head coach Tom Coughlin for his intangibles.
Pope sees Donnell as a big target for Eli Manning, eventually, but still remains a little too raw at this point in his early career. Down the road, though, Pope sees Donnell as another athletic, NBA-type red-zone option for the Giants.
"You can't manufacture a player," he said. "We do see the talent and he is a huge human. You'd like to think you could get (Donnell and Robinson) on a 5-10, 5-11 defender down there in the green zone and just play some NBA basketball with them ... We have had those in for Donnell and in certain cases we haven't had a chance to use them.
"He is somebody that we could create a problem for the defense with. He would be somebody if he becomes productive in some of those roles, it would be very difficult for (defenses) to think they can put a smaller defensive back out there and think they could climb up to his roof. I don't think they can."
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