Daniel Bellinger was cruising along last year when his rookie season was interrupted by a freak incident on the field.
In the Giants’ Week 7 win in Jacksonville, Bellinger got poked in the eye by Jaguars linebacker Devin Lloyd, who was attempting to make a tackle. Bellinger suffered a fractured eye socket and would miss the next six weeks.
Heading into this season, many figured Bellinger would be in for a step up in the passing game after catching 30 passes last year in just 12 games.
Instead, they went in a different direction by trading for Las Vegas Raiders Pro Bowler Darren Waller, which pushed Bellinger into the No.. 2 tight end role.
The move has not been questioned by many as Waller has come into camp and been dominant. Even Bellinger had to admit that.
On Tuesday at training camp, he was asked if Waller has provided any ‘wow’ moments.
“All the time, yeah,” replied Bellinger. “He’s a unicorn player. Watching him be able to do what he does, even at his age, it’s amazing. Definitely a lot of ‘wow’ moments with Darren.”
This camp wasn’t the first time Bellinger has spent time around Waller. They met at the ‘Tight End U’ last year.
“I got a chance to really connect with him last year at Tight End U, so I was already kind of aware of his very unique abilities. Just being able to actually talk and see how he views things off the field, I think is the biggest eye opener for me. He’s a very smart guy. He helps myself and helps the whole offense just with different things that he can do. Obviously, we see it on film all the time and what he did in Las Vegas but being able to just pick his brain off the field, I think is what makes him the most unique.”
Bellinger came to camp considerably more buff and muscular this year. He knows he’ll be doing more blocking, something he does well. He was asked if Waller’s presence has affected his role on the offense, such as taking away snaps et al.
“I don’t really think of it like that,” he said. “What Darren does opens up for everybody, not just in the tight end room, but in the receiving room and it opens up everything all together. So, I wouldn’t say I think about the targets or the passes or whatever that is. I think of it as just what’s going to help the team the best, what’s going to put us in the best position to win. I think Darren does a great job for us and for myself.”