Tight end Matt LaCosse will be hoping it’s third time lucky as he fights for a place on the New York Giants roster.
Training camp has served as a valuable platform for unproven New York Giants commodities to fight their way onto the 53-man roster.
It would perhaps pose as a greater stage on which to make a name for themselves were it not for Odell Beckham Jr. dictating the headlines with a daily dose of typically jaw-dropping moments.
Preparations for the 2017 season have not only reaffirmed known strengths and areas of uncertainty in the Giants team, but also unveiled several unexpected and potentially useful contributors.
Besides a focus on the talent of a standout receiving corps, a powerful defensive line or a two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback, training camp has paved the way for a number of players to launch a challenge for an ascent on the depth chart.
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Tight end Matt LaCosse is one man that finds himself on the roster bubble, although he has so far shown glimpses capable of giving head coach Ben McAdoo a tough decision.
The 24-year-old has endured a difficult three years in the NFL, with his latest setback coming before the start of the 2016/2017 season when a knee injury meant he was put on the injured reserve.
LaCosse was signed by the Giants after going undrafted in 2015, but suffered a hamstring injury early on and subsequently came to an agreement allowing him to become a free agent. He went on to team up with the New York Jets for training camp, only to be waived ahead of the new season before eventually signing onto the Giants practice squad in November.
Last year’s injury came shortly after he had broken into the 53-man roster, thereby summing up the grim time the Illinois product has experienced.
LaCosse himself will remain realistic about his chances in East Rutherford, with free agency acquisition Rhett Ellison, rookie Evan Engram and Will Tye leading the way on the depth chart.
That said, the possibility of McAdoo opting for four tight ends is sure to give him a belief he is still in with a shot up against Tye and Jerell Adams, especially if he continues to impress in the way he has.
Sticking to a trend he has seemingly set since arriving in the NFL, LaCosse has enjoyed a solid off-season and been widely admired for his efforts. A predominant aim to stay healthy has so far been fulfilled and added to by a number of eye-opening plays.
Sunday’s training camp in particular saw him turn heads as he made an impressive diving catch from Josh Johnson before hauling in a 30-yard touchdown pass later in the day.
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At 6-foot-6, he represents an obvious vertical threat most likely equipped to be an intriguing alternative option for Eli Manning. It’s a lack of experience, however, that is somewhat holding him back from being viewed as a viable outlet.
Nevertheless, the cutthroat nature of the NFL has arguably molded the Giants’ loyalty to LaCosse as an expression of the organisation’s faith in him.
Though his status for the upcoming season remains far from certain, to simply be given another chance will have given him some kind of hope that he has a future in the league.
It’s the early setbacks that have undoubtedly fuelled another strong spring and given him a will to continue operating with the same work ethic, regardless of the outcome.
Ultimately, he’s done what was expected of him and made his presence felt.
In doing so, he’s been one of many to set the tone for the commitment and application needed from those in his position and elsewhere on the team.
It was by no means a standout display from LaCosse in Friday’s preseason defeat to the Pittsburgh Steelers, but it was much-needed game time. Something he can build on and something McAdoo suggested he will get the chance to build on.
He was once again productive in OTAs, he’s fit and visibly adding to a healthy competition in the tight end position.
The need for a new dynamic and a fresh approach on offense could well make an athlete like LaCosse an option McAdoo must seriously consider.