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Another Ballard doubter sees the light

New York Giants tight end Jake Ballard, left,

New York Giants tight end Jake Ballard, left, celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown during the first quarter. (Oct. 9, 2011) Photo Credit: AP

When I spoke with Jake Ballard about proving people wrong in the passing game, I threw myself under the bus and told him I was one of those who doubted him.

Turns out I shouold have waited a day because there's another former Ballard doubter around -- Kevin Gilbride.

"I’ve been very impressed with his ball skills," Gilbride said today. "To be honest with you, I thought last year we had a guy that would be an effective blocker. That’s what I thought and I said ‘Here’s a big strong kid, he looks like he’s a tough kid.’ Until you go out and play live against somebody you’re never sure how they’re going to show up. But I felt good that he could do that part of it.

"He looked like he caught the ball well. I just didn’t expect him to be as effective getting open as he’s been. But he’s done a tremendous job. You know what he is, he’s very attentive, he listens, he tries to employ the things that you talk to him about. There’s no question that he’s been a pleasant surprise in that aspect.

"Again, I thought he’d be a good blocker. I thought he’d catch the ball, but I did not know he would be as good at uncovering himself as he’s been. We’ve tried to include him and we’ll see what happens. Sometimes people load up on him and it opens up opportunities for other people. Right now that shows that they’re trying to play some of the deeper throws and what’s happening is it’s created some deep crossing routes for him."


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