Have you noticed anything about the Giants' roster this season? I mean, outside of the massive turnover, that is.
The Giants have finally decided to upgrade their special teams. It unfortunately came at the expense of some of the club's most popular players. They went out and got a new punter, new returners, new front men and new gunners.
All of those calling for the head of special teams coordinator Tom Quinn, sorry. The Giants decided to give him better personnel to work with. You may argue the moves actually hurt the club, but I'd disagree. They are a faster, tougher, hungrier team than the one that took the field last year at this time.
The purge began with the release of punter Steve Weatherford and the trade for his replacement, Brad Wing. I questioned this move when it happened, but now I see where the Giants are going.
The Giants aren't necessarily in love with power punting as they directional punting. Weatherford had frustrated coaches with his inconsistent effort on directionals. The philosophy is to limit the ability of the returner to get loose. Head coach Tom Coughlin wants the ball to kicked towards one of the corners. Weatherford left too many punts down the middle.
Wing is seen a punter that can put the ball near the sidelines and inside the 20, limiting or nullifying any return.
“That’s something that I work on,” Wing said on Monday. “As a punter in this league, I think you have to have a bag of tricks. That’s something that I’ve worked on and continue to work on and want to improve on.”
The change at punter comes at inconvenient time, one week before the regular season is set to begin. Wing will not only assume the punting duties, he'll also be the holder for FGs and PATs. He is playing catch-up with LS Zak DeOssie and PK Josh Brown.
“Today was our first day out there, all three of us together, me, Josh and Zak,” Wing said. “We got some good operation work in. They’re two very good veteran guys. So I don’t think there will be any issues there.”
As for the the other moves, the Giants actually making changes during the offseason, bringing in super special teamers LB Jonathan Casillas and WR/KR Dwayne Harris.
The emphasis will be on physicality and speed this season. Joining Casillas and Harris, the Giants have added FB Nikita Whitlock, WR Geremy Harris, TE Jerome Cunningham, CB Asa Jackson, LB Uani Unga, DE Owa Odighizuwa and safety Craig Dahl.
They will join DeOssie, LB Mark Herzlich, DE Damontre Moore and safety Cooper Taylor as the front men and gunners. As for the receivers, five of the six have, or can, return kicks and punts, Davis being the exception.
In addition to Harris, Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz and Preston Parker all have experience at the returner position. Harris is the starter at both returner spots going into the season. Parker will likely be by his side on kickoffs.
Other players that the club lists at KR are RBs Orleans Darkwa and Andre Williams. The backups at PR are Rueben Randle, Jayron Hosley and Beckham, who the Giants would use only in an emergency.