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When Jon Halapio joined the New York Giants' practice squad in 2016 Womens Brayden Point Jersey , Brett Jones was one of the first guys to welcome him.

 

Jones had joined the Giants the previous year as a center in trying to make the jump from the CFL to the NFL, and he appreciated when some new teammates made him feel welcome.

Why not do the same for Halapio? The two 27-year-old offensive linemen became real good friends and helped each other become better players.

Halapio, a guard at Florida, taught Jones some trade secrets at the spot and Jones taught his buddy how to snap and play center.

A little less than two years later, Jones is fighting to keep the starting center job he manned the final 12 games of last season. And it's Halapio, who is the main competition.

Not only is he the competition, Halapio has been getting most of the first-team snaps in the lineup being put on the field by new coach Pat Shurmur.

Jones isn't worried. It's early in training camp and nothing is set. He also has no regrets about teaching the guy who might take his job.

"It's always been like that in my life," Jones said Monday. "If anybody ever gave me an opportunity I wanted to repay it to them. So that was my thing. Jon was on the practice squad and I was the backup center and if Jon was going to play I wanted to help him out and do what I could. That's what a good teammate does."

Learning to snap was part of the mentoring.

"He had asked me and I sort of gave him the basic training for it," said Jones, who was the CFL's most outstanding lineman in 2014 and missed his first season in the NFL the following year because of a training camp injury. "After practice we would stay and practice snapping. It sort of went from there."

Halapio took the long road to the NFL. He was drafted in the sixth round by New England in 2014. He was on the Broncos' practice squad that season and went to the Cardinals and Patriots training camps in 2015 and '16 Jonathan Allen Jersey , respectively, getting cut each time.

The Giants signed him to the practice squad for most of 2016. He was cut in training camp the following season and re-signed to the practice squad. Injuries got him on the active roster in October and he played in 10 games with six starts at guard.

The move to center came this year.

"Everything was new so I had to learn a lot, not only the schemes, but the different techniques and calls," Halapio said. "I had to learn a lot."

The biggest differences are blocking from a balanced stance, having to make line calls and read coverages and sometimes making the shotgun snaps.

"The more you do it, the better you get," Halapio said. "In the offseason I snapped a bunch, and even now I keep snapping after practice so it's second nature."

Halapio admits fighting Jones for a job felt odd at first.

"It's just pure competition now," Halapio said. "Like coach says all the time Womens C.J. Mosley Jersey , don't read into who's taking the first-team reps. Everyone is being evaluated. As far as me and Brett goes, we're friends. We help each other out in the film room, on the field, outside of football. Nothing is awkward between us. Yeah, it's just pure competition between us and everybody in the room."

The Giants have revamped their offensive line after last year's disastrous 3-13 season. Guard Justin Pugh and center Weston Richburg signed elsewhere as free agents. Guard John Jerry is now a backup fighting for a roster spot.

Patriots free agent Nate Solder was signed to take over at left tackle and 2015 first-rounder Ereck Flowers was moved to right tackle. Second-round draft pick Will Hernandez is the left guard and free agent Patrick Omameh is the right guard.

The center spot is uncertain.

A former center, Shurmur says he is watching the position closely. He wants his centers to be good communicators.

Halapio might be a little stronger than Jones, who probably understands the job better and had 30 NFL games under his belt at guard and center.

It should be an interesting decision for Shurmur.

Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston has been suspended for the first three games of the season. Most stories have said that means Ryan Fitzpatrick will start Weeks 1-3, while Winston will start Week Four. That may not be the case.

Although the Buccaneers don’t appear ready to move on from Winston, as some in Tampa are calling on them to do, they might not be ready to go to Winston immediately when he returns http://www.dallascowboysteamonline.com/rod-smith-jersey , either.

There are a lot of reasons for that, starting with the basic facts of the Buccaneers’ schedule: The Bucs play on Monday night in Week Three, which means that after Winston starts his suspension at the conclusion of the preseason, he can’t return to the team until Tuesday, September 25. So the Bucs will be on a short work week heading into their Week Four game at Chicago on Sunday, September 30. Would the Bucs want to throw Winston in on a short work week, after three weeks off?

After that game against the Bears, the Buccaneers are on their bye week. So it might make more sense for them to play Fitzpatrick in Week Four, then give Winston time to get ready during the Week Five bye before he returns to the starting lineup in Week Six.

Of course, that assumes that Winston is going to return to the starting lineup at all. What if Fitzpatrick plays well and has the Buccaneers’ offense humming? Would the Bucs stick with the hot hand?

Ordinarily they wouldn’t: You don’t keep your 24-year-old former first overall pick on the bench in favor of a 35-year-old backup. But Winston’s contract makes the decision a little more difficult because Winston would be guaranteed a salary of $20.9 million in 2019 if he suffers a serious injury in 2018. If the Buccaneers aren’t absolutely certain they believe in Winston as the face of their franchise for years to come Authentic David Desharnais Jersey , they may decide it’s not worth the risk of putting him on the field and perhaps seeing him suffer an injury that would trigger that $20.9 million guarantee.

Although the circumstances were different, the thinking was the same in Washington in 2015, when Robert Griffin III was slated to be the starter, only to be demoted to third string and deactivated for the entire season. Once the team had decided Griffin was not its quarterback of the future, it couldn’t risk an injury that would trigger the enormous fifth-year injury guarantee that highly drafted players like Griffin (and Winston) have.

So while the most likely scenario remains that Winston returns to the Buccaneers and resumes his spot atop the depth chart in Week Four, that is by no means a guarantee. The Bucs may decide that they’re done with Winston.

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