(David Sills’ Citynet Statewide Sportsline Appearance)
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Offseason programs throughout the National Football League are effectively stalled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some teams are scheduled to reopen team facilities for players to train in the coming days but coaches are not yet allowed to work directly with players.
For former WVU wide receiver David Sills, his chance to impress the new coaching staff with the New York Giants will have to wait.
“We are supposed to be mid-OTA’s (organized team activities) right now,” Sills said. “Obviously that can’t happen especially in the North Jersey/New York area where our facility is. It is kind of like the hot spot right now. It is new for all of us so we are just kind of adapting as we are going. Nobody really has answers for when we will be back.”
Sills wrapped up his three-year career at WVU in 2018 as the team’s offensive MVP. His 35 career receiving touchdowns are second-best in program history. Sills went undrafted and signed a free agent deal with the Buffalo Bills. He was released after training camp and was immediately signed by the Giants and assigned to their practice squad.
“Everyday in practice I was going against the first defense and going against good corners and good safeties and good linebackers on a consistent basis. I was taking every single rep. So I was getting my body ready to take a lot of reps.
“I had to give these guys the best look that I could give. Me and a couple of the guys on practice squad, we looked at it like we were going to go out there and show everybody what we were made of. I think that propelled me into putting myself in a good spot for this year.”
The added complexity of the playbook at the professional level did not come as a surprise for Sills. The biggest adjustment for him were added elements in the route tree.
“The routes in the NFL are a little bit different and a little bit more precise. I’m not going to say it was something I wasn’t good at. But it was something I could definitely refine and be a lot better at. The more reps you get, the better you are going to be at anything.”
Sills spent the first fifteen weeks of the season on the Giants’ practice squad. He was signed to the 53-man roster for the final two weeks of the season but wasn’t active in any games. Sills says production certainly outweighs potential when players are being evaluated in the NFL.
“They look at you based on what your production is. How it is different than college is that it is not like he is coming in as a freshman, we’ll redshirt him and give him some time and in three or four years he will be a good player for us. Once you get there, they expect you to produce right away.”
Eleven receivers are currently listed on the Giants offseason roster so the competition for reps in training camp and the preseason figures to be intense. Joe Judge is entering his first season as head coach and former Cowboys frontman Jason Garrett is the offensive coordinator.
“We have all new coaches. So we are learning the new playbook virtually. It has been different because you are not there. You are not sitting in a meeting room listening to the install. There is a disconnection not having a person sitting in front of you and teaching you. It is on you to put the time in to study it.”
Until players are allowed back in team facilities, Sills is taking his training cues from coaches both past and present.
“They have given us workouts. We have been in touch with our strength coach and I have actually been in touch with Coach Mike Joseph at West Virginia about what his guys are doing now. I have taken a peek at what he has for them because I think Mike Joseph is one of the best in the business. I have always had a close relationship with him.”