The New York Giants’ immediate response to being shutout 40-0 by the Dallas Cowboys in Week 1 is to look for new options at wide receiver. Two wideouts are “working out” for the team on Tuesday, September 12, including a return specialist who has been named an All-Pro.
Proche was joined by Andre Roberts, a veteran of nine franchises, including the Arizona Cardinals, New York Jets and Buffalo Bills. Roberts, who was named an All-Pro as a returner for the Jets in 2018, was with the Carolina Panthers last season, but he didn’t catch a pass.
The 35-year-old’s visit to the Giants was reported by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
Roberts or Proche would join an already crowded rotation at receiver. The Giants brought back Isaiah Hodgins, Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard this offseason, while also adding Parris Campbell in free agency and selecting Jalin Hyatt in the third round of the 2023 NFL draft.
This new-look group hardly made an impression against the Cowboys. In all, Giants wideouts combined for a mere five catches for just 41 yards.
Issues in pass protection in front of quarterback Daniel Jones were the main reason for the scant output, but the Giants aren’t done trying to equip their signal-caller with more targets. Although, Proche and Roberts would offer more value on special teams.
Giants Need Third-Phase Help After Week 1 Miscues
Describing the Giants’ special teams as below-par in Week 1 would be charitable. It started with a blocked field goal in the first quarter, returned 58 yards for a touchdown by Noah Igbinoghene.
This stunning splash play wasn’t the only setback the Giants endured in football’s third phase. Things were hardly better in the return game, where rookie running back Eric Gray produced just seven yards on a single punt return, per Pro Football Reference.
Roberts is still dynamic in both phases of the return game. The 13-year pro made a house call from 101 yards after fielding this kickoff for the Los Angeles Chargers against the Denver Broncos in 2022.
Proche also has ample special teams experience from his time with the Ravens, even including taking snaps as a holder. The 26-year-old has also worked as a punt returner, but coughing up a fumble against the Philadelphia Eagles this preseason harmed his chances of sticking on the roster, according to ESPN’s Jamison Hensley.
While Roberts and Proche can bolster special teams, they could also chip in for a Jones-led passing game still needing to prove it’s better than last season’s pedestrian air attack.
New-Look Passing Game Failed to Click
Jones was supposed to take the motivation accrued from a bumper new contract and use it to maximize his superior supporting cast. Things didn’t work out that way against Dallas, with Hyatt almost missing in action.
This year’s 73rd-overall pick was targeted just once and dropped the pass, but Hyatt wasn’t the only receiver who endured a night to forget. Slayton, who averaged an impressive 15.7 yards per reception last season, was limited to five yards a grab by the Cowboys’ defense, per Pro Football Reference.
The numbers were dire, but the Giants’ inability to move the ball through the air owed more to Jones spending the night under siege, rather than a lack of talent at receiver. Numbers from ESPN’s Jordan Raanan revealed how every member of Jones’ starting offensive line was dominated by a swarming Dallas pass rush.
Fixing things in front of Jones rates as more of a priority than adding to his already deep contingent of receivers. Signing Roberts or Proche would likely only make an impact on special teams.
James Dudko covers the New York Giants, New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens for Heavy.com. He has covered the NFL and world soccer since 2011, with bylines at FanSided, Prime Time Sports Talk and Bleacher Report before joining Heavy in 2021. More about James Dudko
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