Go ahead and take your pick as to which Giants tight end is the biggest disappointment—there is no wrong answer.
What’s particularly frustrating is how back in the spring, Adrien Robinson and Larry Donnell, the two young tight ends whom the front office seems to be banking on stepping up, spoke endlessly about how this new offense was such a better fit for their respective talents.
"The expectations were that the two young guys would develop and grow and that the two veteran players would be stabilizers and do the things that they have done well," head coach Tom Coughlin told reporters regarding the team’s expectations of Robinson, the team’s fourth-round pick in 2012, and Donnell an undrafted free agent in 2012.
How bad has it been for those two as well as for veterans Daniel Fells and Kellen Davis? The four have combined for nine receptions for 116 yards with one touchdown.
No tight end had a reception in last week’s game against the New York Jets.
Per Pro Football Focus (subscription required), both Donnell and Robinson have the worst overall grades, minus 4.3 and minus 3.0, respectively.
Robinson, whom general manager Jerry Reese so famously dubbed the “JPP of tight ends,” while trying to compare Robinson’s physical traits to that of the defensive end, has negative grades across the board in both pass receiving and in run blocking, per PFF, while Donnell has an alarming minus-4.0 run blocking grade.
Because no one has stepped up to make the starting position his, Coughlin and the coaching staff will turn to a committee approach for the immediate future.
"That is not necessarily what the plan was," Coughlin said. "But the plan has evolved to that, where people can be utilized for their skills in different ways."
The problem with a committee approach is twofold. One, it might force the Giants to keep an extra player at the position where that roster spot might be best-served elsewhere.
More importantly, it won’t take opposing defensive coordinators long to figure out how the tight ends are being used, which in turn will make it easier to anticipate what might be coming.