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Is the competition for Giants’ punt return job over?

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 New York Giants Hats , 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, 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 New York Giants Hoodie , that’s the tale of all tales, man, 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.Improvements by Will Hernandez, Chad Wheeler a positive step for Giants’ offensive line At 1-3, the New York Giants haven’t been good enough so far in the 2018 NFL season. If you look, though, there are some things to feel good about.One of those has been the steady improvement of the offensive line, with coach Pat Shurmur telling WFAN on Tuesday that he felt Sunday against the New Orleans Saints “the offensive line as a unit played their best game.”On Wednesday, Shurmur singled out rookie left guard Will Hernandez, the team’s second-round pick, and second-year right tackle Chad Wheeler, starting his second game after taking over at right tackle for Ereck Flowers, for praise.After allowing two pressures in each of the first two games, Hernandez has not been responsible for a quarterback pressure in the past two games. His pro Football Focus pass-blocking grade of 88.2 was his best of the season.“Part of it is just playing more and more. Some people say you need 5,000 snaps before you get into it, he [Hernandez] didn’t have the benefit of that,” Shurmur said. ‘He’s getting better. I think it was his best game, still has his mistakes but I think all in all, it was his best game, which is good, so we hope it just continues to go like it is.”Hernandez does feel like he has gotten better.“I feel like I’ve definitely been improving. I want to keep getting better because I’m not satisfied with that performance [vs. New Orleans] Cheap Customized New York Giants Jerseys ,” he said. “I want to keep building on what I did good and keep getting better at the stuff I didn’t do so good.”Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY SportsHernandez said he has definitely learned the value of playing with leverage at the NFL level.“I’ve always felt like I played too tall,” he said. “Sometimes I’ve been able to get away with it in college. Here I quickly learned that good leverage and good technique is the best way to go.”After giving up three sacks to J.J. Watt in his first start, Wheeler gave up four pressures vs. the Saints but kept Cameron Jordan out of the sack column.“I think he [Wheeler] played better this game than he did last game,” Shurmur said. “The thing I appreciate about him is, he walks around pretty quiet sort of Monday through Saturday, but on game day, you can see the emotions and you can see him playing hard and competing, and he works hard in practice. “For a guy that plays with emotion and then he works hard and he competes, then he’ll continue to get better because he has a good skillset. Just like Will, we’re hopeful that he has a better game than he did last week. He’s going to get another tough matchup, so we’ll see how he does.”Looking on the Saints game on Wednesday, Wheeler didn’t want to hear about what he did well.“Just didn’t open up enough holes, didn’t pass block well enough, coulda done a lot of things better,” he said. “You’ve gotta be hard on yourself, especially being an undrafted free agent. You’re always going to have that chip on your shoulder. Never going to feel like you’re good enough. Honestly when you start feeling like you’re good enough that’s when you get humbled in this league.”An improving group?Both players indicated that they feel like the much-maligned line, including new center John Greco, has been getting better.“As a group I feel like we’re coming together,” Wheeler said. “Just doing the little things, just do simple better. We don’t have to re-invent the wheel or try to be Supermen out there. You’ve just gotta do your job and hope the guy next to you is doing his.”Hernandez agreed:“I feel like we’ve been improving as a group and we’re going to keep improving, but we’ve got to step it up,” he said. “We don’t want to keep improving little by little every game. We want to improve as fast as we can.”

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