One of the more interesting NFL rumors to come out of New York Giants camp in Albany, New York this week is the possibility of Bear Pascoe starting at tight end for the defending Super Bowl Champions.
Currently, free agent signee Martellus Bennett is listed as the second tight end on the New York Giants depth chart, behind Bear Pascoe, as he learns the new offense. Even though the depth chart in training camp and the preseason means nothing and can change quickly, it is interesting to see Pascoe listed ahead of Bennett. The Giants play a lot of two-tight end formations so even if Bennett stays as the backup he will see the field a lot more than he did with the Dallas Cowboys.
However, what is really intriguing is what tight ends coach Mike Pope said to the media regarding Bear Pascoe. “A year ago at this time we didn’t know any more about Jake Ballard than we really know about Bear Pascoe in that role right now,” Pope said. “If Bear can do what Jake was able to do and be a good player at the point of attack and be someone that the quarterback can trust and have chemistry with, then anything can happen.”
Ballard, of course, came out of virtually nowhere to replace the departed Kevin Boss who signed with the Oakland Raiders. Ballard went on to become a major factor in the Giants’ offense and caught 38 passes for 604 yards and 4 TDs across 14 games, including 13 starts.
Seeing Pascoe, 26, emerge as the starting tight end wouldn’t be surprising, even if Bennett was the Giants’ lone big free agent splash. Pascoe seemed to gain quarterback Eli Manning’s trust a little more each week and Pascoe began to emerge from unknown to option in the passing game. In the Super Bowl after Ballard and Travis Beckum went down with ACL injuries, Pascoe stepped in and caught 4 passes for 33 yards. He also caught his first NFL touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game.
While those stats guarantee nothing, it does show Manning’s willingness to look for him in the biggest game of the year which says something about Pascoe’s reliability, if not his ability. It is hard not to remember Pascoe’s leap over cornerback Terrance Newman on a screen pass with the Giants on their own five-yard line against the Cowboys in Week 17 that saved the Giants from punting out of their own end zone.
Don’t be surprised if Pascoe’s standing knowledge of the offense keeps him slightly ahead of Bennett and 2012 fourth-round draft pick Adrien Robinson on the depth chart. Bennett will get himself plenty of options in the passing game regardless of where he lines up. However, I’ve already written about Bear Pascoe’s potential once earlier this offseason here so don’t say I didn’t warn you, and now Mike Pope as well, about the possible emergence of Bear Pascoe.