BAYONNE, N.J. -- Without having ever kicked a field goal in a regular season or preseason game, Aldrick Rosas has made a strong impression. Strong enough that the New York Giants might have found their kicker in mid-May.
Rosas, a Southern Oregon product, was signed after last season. He wasn't on a roster most of the season after being cut by the Tennessee Titans in the summer. But he's currently the only kicker on the Giants roster and is having "one of the most memorable offseasons" veteran long-snapper Zak DeOssie can remember.
DeOssie, 32, knows a little something about special teams play. He's the Giants’ second-longest tenured player, and one of two remaining members of the 2007 Super Bowl-winning team, along with Eli Manning.
"Here this kid is, for the first time by himself with a lot of pressure. We're mapping out every single kick he has and takes and he's doing incredibly well, and handling it exceptionally well," DeOssie said Monday as he hosted the Newark Mentoring Movement Golf Outing along with Justin Tuck and Senator Cory Booker at Bayonne Golf Club. "So we just have to keep pressing forward. Ignorance is bliss from his standpoint. We just try to keep him happy and motivated and ... younger kickers tend to kick all day, every day. They'll kick against a wall until their leg falls off. We want more quality vs. quantity, and we're getting that so far."
DeOssie pointed out Rosas' strong leg. That seems to be the common thread when talking to anyone in the Giants organization about the young kicker, who the Giants hope does well enough this spring and summer that they don't need to add a veteran later.
"He's got nice size, a nice strong leg and he's been highly accurate since he's been here," special teams coach Tom Quinn said last week. "He's very coachable, so he's been very good to work with. We've only had a couple of weeks that we've been able to get him out here with a snap and hold."
General manager Jerry Reese also described Rosas as a "young kid on the roster with a big leg." That in itself is a compliment.
A kicker with a big leg is something the Giants haven't had in quite some time. Robbie Gould and Josh Brown were never known for booming kickoffs out of the end zone. They were trusted because of their ability to accurately boot field goals.
With the lack of a professional track record, the Giants really don’t know what they're getting with Rosas. But so far, they seem impressed to the point that they're willing to let him compete against himself this spring and summer.
The Giants had Travis Coons in for a tryout during rookie minicamp and decided not to offer him a contract. Rosas has left that strong of an impression.
"He's got the right mentality," DeOssie said. "Got the right attitude."
That an encouraging assessment from one of the Giants' team captains. DeOssie, who was re-signed for an 11th season, is among the most respected players in the locker room for the way he handles himself on and off the field. This was his fourth year co-hosting the Newark Mentoring Movement outing.
"I'm a big believer in the mentor-mentee relationship, especially helping out the local community in Newark," DeOssie said.
Several of his current teammates -- including offensive linemen Justin Pugh, Weston Richburg, Brett Jones and defensive end Romeo Okwara -- were among those to offer support. Many of the Giants have been around the tri-state area the past few weeks working with kids and in the community.
DeOssie has long been a staple in the community and tries to pass the message along to his younger teammates.
"You don't want to force anyone, but I've said it before and I'll say it again: There is a social obligation for NFL players to give back to the community," he said. "When you're 23 or 24 [years old] and you're a second- or third-year player you don’t really have the foresight. Once you settle in a little bit, have a little bit of success or tenure, I think it's paramount for them to get involved, put themselves out there.
"This is the time to do it, the offseason. You just have to manage your time a little bit. A lot of guys are receptive to it. A lot of guys who show up for me, I show up for them. Whenever current or former teammates asks for me to be there or vice versa, I'm there."