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What Do Chad Wheeler’s First-Team Reps Mean?

Maybe nothing, maybe a whole lot

Regardless of how well or poorly they went, what should we make of those three first-team reps Chad Wheeler took at training camp practice on Wednesday for the New York Giants? A big deal? A hint of competition for Ereck Flowers? Much ado about nothing?

“I just wanted to take a look at him,” head coach Ben McAdoo said after Wednesday’s practice.

Why now?

Has Wheeler, signed as a priority undrafted free agent, played well enough to earn those reps? Maybe. I don’t have him making the cut in my most recent 53-man roster projection. My opinion doesn’t matter, though. Only that of McAdoo, GM Jerry Reese and offensive line coach Mike Solari does.

“I see a young, talented player. He’s a physical player, but he’s a young player that can bend well,” McAdoo said. “He is working on the fundamental part of the game. Seems to get football.”

Does that mean there is a real competition for the starting left tackle job? It’s interesting to speculate, but I don’t believe anyone should leap to that conclusion after three practice snaps on a Wednesday in early August?

Does it mean maybe Wheeler has a better shot at a roster spot than I thought? Maybe, but I wouldn’t leap to that conclusion, either. If he is going to be on the roster, though, taking a look at him against top-tier competition is a good idea.

Was this perhaps a message to Flowers? I wasn’t in attendance at practice Wednesday, but perhaps the third-year left tackle just had a poor practice and McAdoo wanted to send him a message that he needed to do better. I don’t know, but yanking a guy off the field is a loud and clear way to get a point across.

What will really matter is whether or not we start to see this with any regularity. At the very least, it is something to pay attention to going forward.