A few weeks ago, before Graham Gano’s knee injury became problematic for the New York Giants, special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey was asked about the comfort of having a veteran placekicker he knew and trusted.
“You always want to have the veteran guy. When you have a proven guy, you don’t want to give away a proven guy. You get a guy that’s done it for a long time,” McGaughey said. “Because I tell people this all the time: once you get on the kicker train, the destination is unknown. So, when you’re on that train that’s been steady, and you know the destination, you know exactly where you’re going, you like to ride on that train. But when you get one you really don’t know, you think you know, but you really don’t know until you know, you could be anywhere. You can look up and you could be halfway across the world before you find another one. That kicker train is dangerous. It can take you anywhere.”
Well, Gano’s injured left knee now has the Giants riding that kicker train. And, like McGaughey said, they don’t know where they are going.
After Gano missed a pair of makable field goals against the New York Jets last week, he and the Giants finally succumbed to the reality that the injury was turning the normally reliable Gano, one of the game’s best kickers, into a question mark.
Gano will now head to injured reserve and the operating table, hoping to get that knee repaired and return to the form that saw him make 89 of 97 field goals over his first three seasons with the Giants.
The Giants’ kicker train made a pair of stops this week. After a workout of several veteran kickers on Thursday, the Giants signed veteran Randy Bullock to their practice squad. On Friday, they plucked 22-year-old Cade York off the Tennessee Titans’ practice squad and added him to their 53-man roster.
As of this writing, they had not committed to which of York of Bullock will kick Sunday against the Las Vegas Raiders. Whether or not Bullock is elevated to the 53-man roster later Saturday will give us that answer.
Still, the likely answer is that York will be the kicker and that Bullock is insurance in the event the young kicker struggles.
York was in the midst of an off day round of golf on Thursday when he got a call from his agent that the Giants wanted to add him to their 53-man roster. He didn’t finish the hole.
“I had to go,” he said.
York was a fourth-round pick by the Cleveland Browns in 2022. He was 24 of 32 (75%) but got let go after making just 4 of 8 field goals in the preseason.
“I was getting kind of quick to the ball. I was kind of chasing something, a feeling that I had, and I kind of just took it too far,” York said. “I was actually hitting really well in training camp and all that stuff, but when it came to the game the tempo just got up and started missing right a little bit for the most part. But just slow it down and get back to being who I am.”
The Giants are hoping the talent that made him a fourth-round pick surfaces. York said he is “very confident” it will.
Bullock signed to the practice squad on Thursday. He played one game for the Giants in 2016. Bullock has been with the Giants, Houston Texans, New York Jets, Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers and spent the last two seasons with the Tennessee Titans.
York’s Friday arrival was a surprise to him.
“I didn’t know, but it’s a revolving door for all this stuff,” he said. “There are a lot of transactions all the time so you control what you can control, and you prepare. That’s why I’ve been able to do this as long as I have.”
He said he will be ready if and when the Giants ask him to perform.
“Those decisions are out of my hands, but I feel like I’m prepared, I’ve done it for a long time, and I feel like I can do it again when given the opportunity,” he said.