EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Intentionally or unintentionally, New York Giants coach Ben McAdoo delivered an unmistakable message to tight end Will Tye on Saturday. That message? Last year’s starting tight end is on the roster bubble.
After first-round pick Evan Engram had an excellent practice, McAdoo was asked if Engram’s presence had placed additional pressure on Tye, the third-year player our of Stony Brook.
“We have a lot of guys on the offensive side who are on the bubble,” McAdoo said. “The thing about being on the bubble is sometimes it takes your fears to bring out the best in you. That’s what we’re looking from those guys.
“What are you going to do? Are you going to step up or are you going to step back? All it is is an opportunity for them to get better.”
Tye caught 48 passes last season, but the Giants made it clear in the off-season with the drafting of Engram and the free-agent signing of Rhett Ellison that they were looking to upgrade the tight end position.
Last year’s sixth-round pick, Jerell Adams, is having a strong camp. He made a handful of catches Saturday, including a red zone touchdown grab on a pass from Geno Smith. Matt LaCosse is healthy, making a strong bid for a roster spot, and also caught a touchdown pass from Smith on Saturday. With Mark Herzlich seemingly able to play tight end in an emergency, that perhaps could leave Tye in a tenuous position in terms of keeping a spot on the 53-man roster.
Engram’s Big Day
Engram was a presence during Saturday’s two-hour, 15-minute practice.
In a 7-on-7 red zone drill, the 6-foot-3, 236-pound rookie made a diving touchdown catch of an Eli Manning pass along the left boundary. It took a terrific effort by Janoris Jenkins to deny him a touchdown later in the same drill as Jackrabbit was able to keep him from corralling a Manning pass in the right corner.
In a second 7-on-7 red zone session, Engram snagged a Manning touchdown pass in front of safety Darian Thompson.
I knew today was, by far, going to be the hardest one, and I woke up this morning ready to go to work. I came out here and did my best to make plays,” Engram said. “It was pretty fun. I got a little involved today. Like I said, I just want to make those plays when the ball comes to me.”
McAdoo liked what he saw.
“I saw a young player who is learning how to play the game the way we want in played down in the green zone,” McAdoo said when asked about Engram. “He’s a target down there, we all see that, we all see the skill set. The challenge for a guy like him is you move him around, you ask a lot of him.
“He can think too much playing that position. I asked him today to go out there and play with speed and we’ll detail it as we go, and don’t look back. He made some productive plays down there today.”
Engram also had a good day on special teams, several times drawing audible praise from his teammates. Engram held his own during a 1-on-1 special teams competition involving a blocker and a potential tackler. He also had a nice rush off the edge on a punt.
“Seems like he’s got more power than what most DBs expected. He gets his body into you and gets open or just beats you with speed,” said Giants’ cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. “So, he’s definitely a threat, man. He’s definitely showing that, especially in one-on-ones. He’s always getting open, catching the ball.”