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Is the competition for Giants’ punt return job over?

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19/11/2018 a las 08:35:07
Maybe not When Hunter Sharp returned a perfectly blocked punt 55 yards for a touchdown on Friday against the New York Jets there was a natural tendency to assume that Sharp [url=][/url ] , in competition for that role with Kalif Raymond, had just put down his marker and won the job. After Friday’s game Sharp was asked that question directly. Did he think he had won the job when he stiff-armed the last Jets defender and galloped into the end zone? Sharp didn’t want to admit that the thought crossed his mind, but his answer revealed that it pretty much did.“I don’t want to say anything, but I think I’ve put my best foot forward, and I’m just going to keep working,” Sharp said. Well ... maybe Sharp did win the job. Then again, there is another player who made a pretty convincing case Friday. And Sharp did leave an opening.Sharp’s rough night as a receiver — two drops and an apparent miscommunication with Eli Manning on a potential touchdown — put a damper on Sharp’s evening.“It’s honestly hard for me even to be happy about the touchdown because I have high expectations for myself,” Sharp said, thinking about his drops. “Honestly, I just have to bounce back and keep working.”Sharp’s drops may also have kept the door open for the guy who lockers next to him, Kalif Raymond. The two 24-year-olds are similar players, both wide receivers/kick and punt returners. They could easily be competing for one roster spot, though it is conceivable that both the 5-11 [url=][/url ] , 198-pound Sharp and the 5-9, 160-pound Raymond could make the final roster.While Sharp’s touchdown and total of three returns for 80 yards (26.7 yards per return) were getting all the attention, Raymond also had a nice night returning punts. He had a 35-yard return and averaged 16.3 yards on four returns.I spoke to Raymond Friday after the crowd around Sharp had dissipated. He admitted that the two had been talking about the belief that they hadn’t made enough plays during the first two preseason games.“We haven’t been playing fast enough,” Raymond said. “We made a decision to play fast, let our worries go and just ball. I think it showed a little bit.”While it might have made it more difficult for him to win a job, Raymond enjoyed Sharp’s return for a touchdown.“As a returner that’s what you want, make one cut and go,” Raymond said. “It was perfectly set up for him. “That was awesome.”Return Game ComparisonPlayerPunt ReturnsAvg.LongTDsKickoff ReturnsAvg.LongPlayerPunt ReturnsAvg.LongTDsKickoff ReturnsAvg.LongRaymond believes he still has an opportunity to win the job.“I’m being confident, being patient with it and everything will sort itself out,” he said on Friday, pointing out that other teams are also watching.Raymond is looking forward to getting an extended chance on Thursday night in the preseason finale against the New England Patriots.“The fourth preseason game, that’s the tale of all tales, man [url=][/url ] , that will allow me to go out there and play and show my abilities for four quarters,” Raymond said. “I can’t wait to see what happens.”If this were a horse race, Sharp would appear to have the advantage heading around the final turn. Thursday night, we find out if there is anything Raymond can do to change that coming down the stretch.Olivier Vernon: “Cohesiveness” of OL noticeable The Giants got their first win of the preseason on Friday night, taking down the Detroit Lions 30-17. Following the win, at Monday’s practice, linebacker Olivier Vernon spoke with the media. Here are some takeaways. On finding rhythm during the preseason ...“I know what you mean but come preseason time, you have to start fast,” Vernon said. “You have to kind of get the feel of it early even though you’re not going to get the rest later throughout the game. For myself, it’s basically getting down my technique, working on my technique, making sure everything is solid as far as knowing the playbook and not having any mental errors. That’s one of the biggest things when it comes to the preseason, it’s all mental.” On the front 7 vs. the run ...“That’s going to be a telltale sign when we get out there (during) game one against Jacksonville [url=][/url ] ,” Vernon said. “Like I always say, ‘We’re only as good as we’ll make ourselves be’, it’s just a work in progress.”On how good he thinks the run game will be ...“We have a lot of depth,” Vernon said. “We have a lot of guys who have been working hard during this offseason. From what I’ve seen out there on the field with those guys, we’ve got a lot of talent, those guys are working hard and they’re hungry. So, add that with depth, we’re going to see how it goes, but I’m excited to see (what happens) with the type of work they’ve been putting in in practice and then going out on game day and trying to show it out there. I feel like they’re doing it, we’re going to have to see game one.”On what he has seen from the offensive line ...“I see the cohesiveness amongst them – and that’s on the field and off,” Vernon said. “Those guys are always together. That’s what you expect from the offensive line group. Those guys are all like brothers. They go everywhere with each other. That translates well on the field when it comes down to it. I think their attitude is one of the things that I’ve noticed, especially going against them in practice and since OTAs. They got depth in that group, too [url=][/url ] , as well. They have a lot of guys that are working. They’re working, they’re building that chemistry. That’s one thing you like to see in the offensive line group.” On the new defense ...“The whole process of (defensive coordinator James Bettcher) Coach “Bettch” bringing his scheme in, for myself and I feel like for the guys, it’s been fun,” Vernon said. “Being able to translate that to real time, to a game day, I think everybody is excited. It’s kind of like a fresh start. It’s going to be fun for a lot of guys, especially being put in different positions and just a way of attacking on defense. I think it’s going to be a lot more fun for some of the guys, for all of us basically.”
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