Despite improvement in his knee this week, Giants tight end Jake Ballard will not play Sunday against the Jets. This open the door for tight ends Travis Beckum and Bear Pascoe to see increased playing time.
"We have to play ball. Got to be on our p's and q's," Beckum said of him and Pascoe. "They do a lot of stuff defensively. We just have to play and make it as if Jake never left."
Ballard has enjoyed a breakout season for the Giants, catching 38 passes for 604 yards and four touchdowns. In Sunday's 23-10 loss to Washington, Ballard injured his PCL and has been rehabbing it and working, trying to get better. He did not practice this week before being ruled out on Friday.
With Ballard out, Beckum and Pascoe will likely get a chance to showcase their talents in an extended role. The two are complements of each other, with Pascoe serving as more of a traditional tight end who can block, as he also plays fullback at times, while Beckum is more of a pass-catching tight end who isn't as strong a blocker.
"Me and Travis have to be keyed into our assignments and get in our detail on our technique," Pascoe said. "We have to listen to Eli (Manning) when we get to the line and be able to hear him make calls and be able to adjust to him and get our job done."
Pascoe is excited for his chance. He said he's looking forward to be utilized more as a tight end instead of his usual back and forth detail between fullback and tight end. He said he concentrated much more on the tight end of his duties this week. On the year, Pascoe has 10 catches for 122 yards.
Beckum will be making his return to the lineup after suffering a chest injury against Dallas on Dec. 11 that sidelined him for Sunday's loss to Washington. He is looking forward to getting a chance to see a potential boost in playtime and opportunities as he has just three catches for 80 yards and a touchdown on the season.
"I think with Jake being down, it's time for me to step up," Beckum said. "I think that's the one thing I lacked all year, is the opportunity to actually go out and try to take advantage of it."
This week could be a golden week for the pair to make some noise as they face a Jets defense that is susceptible to big plays from the tight end. The Jets have allowed the most receiving yards and receptions of 30 or more yards to tight ends, the third-most receptions and the fourth-highest yards per reception, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
"I think with all the things that they are doing defensively I think there are holes in their defense," Beckum said. "For everybody, not necessarily tight ends, I think there are things that we're going to try and exploit."