The mystery of the punt returner has been solved. Giants general manager Joe Schoen said that there were some punt returners in the 2023 draft who “we liked [that] went probably higher than where we deemed you would take a guy.” Special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey revealed that he worked out Michigan State’s Jayden Reed in the spring. The Packers, who will visit the Giants on Monday night, drafted Reed in the second round. He is averaging 9.7 yards per return while leading the team with 513 receiving yards. McGaughey said, “He’s a very talented kid. He can stick his foot in the ground, he can make people miss and he has really good straight-line speed. I was showing the guys tape of him today. We have to do a really good job of being where we’re supposed to be as far as leveraging the ball and keeping it inside.”
The Giants forced rookie fifth-round pick Eric Gray into the job, even after he was benched for fumbling punts at Oklahoma. Gray mishandled three punts in the Giants’ first seven games, was injured and replaced by free-agent addition Gunner Olszewski, and no longer catches punts at practice. Schoen fell on the sword for creating the short-handed situation, but the Giants also had scouting eyes for Tank Dell — a breakout star as a receiver and returner as a rookie third-round pick of the Texans — a source told The Post. McGaughey said, “I make the gumbo, so whoever’s back there, that’s who we’re going with. It is what it is. We get guys that are on the roster, we try to put them in places to make plays, and that’s our job. Eric still has time. It’s just the maturation process of growing as a football player and trying to figure things out.”
Offensive coordinator Mike Kafka reportedly spurned interest from his alma mater, Northwestern, about its head coach vacancy before interim David Braun was promoted. Kafka said, “That was something that wasn’t on my landscape at the time right now. Right now, this is what I’m focused on — being here and enjoying the process with the players and the coaches and going through this journey.”
TE Daniel Bellinger (illness) was added to the injury report. DT Dexter Lawrence (hamstring), DT A’Shawn Robinson (hamstring) and LB Isaiah Simmons (ankle) remained limited. RT Evan Neal (ankle) did not practice yet again.
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