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Special Teams to be "Special" this year....dare we hope?


BleedinBlue
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I think we have dramatically upgraded our special teams this year.

 

Free agent pickups:

 

WR Dwayne Harris is a difference maker. Extremely fast and can cut on a dime. One of the top returners in the game and a gunner that we haven't had since David Tyree.

 

LB J.T. Thomas shows flashes as a linebacker, but is unquestionably a great special teams player who is fast and athletic

 

LB Jonathan Casillas is much like J.T. Thomas - signed as a FE from the Patriots, and is fast, hard tackler, and is a great special teams player

 

CB/S Josh Gordy - signed as a FA from the Colts. Average cover skills, but is known as a pet of Spags and shined under his coaching. Known as one of the better special team players

 

Draftees:

 

S Landry Collins - called a "Core special-teams player" by Lance Zierlein (NFL.com past scout and now analyst)

 

DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa will shine in special teams as a nasty, ruthless tackler. He is the fastest of all DE's at the combine and is known as a great ST player at UCLA

 

S Mykkele Thompson is called a "Special Teams Ace" leading all players at Texas in tackles as a freshman, and got better each year. He is also called a "gunner supreme". Analysts who have rated him don't say much of anything about his skills as a safety, but all agree that he will be a great special teams player.

 

WR Geremy Davis - fast, strong, the only bright spot in the offense of a very bad UConn team. Even though he was not well known by most fans, he is known as a very tough guy who uses tenacity and strength to win battles for a ball for which he has great hands - hence, "zero drops for his last season". Regardless, analysts across the nation figured he would be a late round pick based entirely on his special teams prowess. Some have said there might not be a better special teams player in the draft. He too is classified as a gunner.

 

-------------------------

 

So if there's a common thread through this draft with a theme in mind, it might be: fix the offensive line and fix special teams once and for all.

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It hasn't always been a horrible unit and usually a boring unit. Nobody is going to talk about how amazing our special teams unit is in 2015 if the team doesn't reach the playoffs. More potential of the unit improving this year and lets not forget we thought the same thing about the unit last season as well.

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I'm not nearly as pessimistic as some of you fellas.

 

Year after year (the last 3 or 4 years) people have thrown remotes and bitched on this board like a nagging wife that our special teams suck. TC gives after game interviews in which he states that our special teams are not good enough and that "field position" is a huge part of winning games....then he goes on to say, "when you start at your own end zone on half your plays and our opponent routinely returns balls to midfield, we're not going to win a lot of games".

 

I for one am optimistic that this year will be a big improvement - especially in the strategy of field position.

 

The Giants were middle of the pack in most categories of special teams for offensive statistics while leaning more towards the back half (http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2014/12/giants_2014_season_by_the_numbers.html). Where we did well, was we came in 4th best in the NFL for percentage of field goals made (92.3%), yet came in 20th for field goal points. That is due to poor field position, not bad kickers. Too few opportunities resulting in forced punts instead of field goal attempts.

 

Defensively on special teams, we are near the bottom of the pack. In fact, 2 games lost last year were attributed entirely to poor special teams play. A punt return touchdown by Ted Ginn Jr. cost them their Week 2 game against the Arizona Cardinals and also when the Giants allowed a touchdown in a 34-26 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles when a blocked punt was returned for a third-quarter score.

 

At the end of the season, Tom Quinn (special teams coordinator) stated, "Punt coverage is the one that stands out. It's been the black eye for us." He went on further to say, " We (the Giants) didn't get a single kickoff return past midfield this season. They didn't break a long punt return either. The explosiveness we were looking from that area of the game never materialized, even with Odell Beckham back there for most of the season".

 

Regardless...maybe I'm a homer. I've always been called an "eternal optimist" and the "least negative person" they've ever met. I don't care what people say about me, but one thing they never say is that I carry a negative vibe. So I'm very optimistic about special teams this year and believe it is an integral part of winning games. If you think I'm a homer, that's fine with me. I can't relate to the negativism that embodies some people.

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It hasn't always been a horrible unit and usually a boring unit. Nobody is going to talk about how amazing our special teams unit is in 2015 if the team doesn't reach the playoffs. More potential of the unit improving this year and lets not forget we thought the same thing about the unit last season as well.

 

I feel like our blocking on returns has consistently sucked.

 

But this is the year, best special teams in the NFL!

 

to go along with our obvious 19-0 season I continue to predict.

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welcome to team homer

LOL - been a homer for the Giants since my momma brought me home to the family farm 62 years ago. Never could understand people who claim to be a fan of a team who are so negative they can't say anything positive. Makes me wonder why they bother to root for a team. It's as if they are so insecure in themselves that they think maybe someone will think they are smart if they criticize the team they claim to support. Makes no sense to me....but then again, that's just my personality. When I spent 40 years in the corporate world, I quickly learned to avoid negative people. They are downers and a cancer to a company or group.

 

Anyway, I'm glad to be tagged as a homer. I admire Cub fans for their endless hope and positive love for their team....poor suckers!

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I don't really know why they constantly work on or at least say they work on, a facet of the game that consistently gets more and more phased out, year after year. There's no kick returns right now and who knows what the future will have in store for punt returns. You need serviceable special teamers, not aces. Weatherford is a solid punter, we don't need to be wasting 4th round picks on "special teams aces". We don't need to be overpaying guys to return kicks when they will maybe see 10-15 kick returns all year. It's baffling to me.

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I don't really know why they constantly work on or at least say they work on, a facet of the game that consistently gets more and more phased out, year after year. There's no kick returns right now and who knows what the future will have in store for punt returns. You need serviceable special teamers, not aces. Weatherford is a solid punter, we don't need to be wasting 4th round picks on "special teams aces". We don't need to be overpaying guys to return kicks when they will maybe see 10-15 kick returns all year. It's baffling to me.

 

Feagles was a fucking weapon.

 

I still rock my Feagles jersey quite a bit.

 

 

 

Edit: I should mention I also own a Weatherford Wednesday's shirt.

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I don't really know why they constantly work on or at least say they work on, a facet of the game that consistently gets more and more phased out, year after year. There's no kick returns right now and who knows what the future will have in store for punt returns. You need serviceable special teamers, not aces. Weatherford is a solid punter, we don't need to be wasting 4th round picks on "special teams aces". We don't need to be overpaying guys to return kicks when they will maybe see 10-15 kick returns all year. It's baffling to me.

They obviously didn't pick Mykkele Thompson to only play special teams. However, the scouts had grades on all the safeties based on speed, athleticism, character, etc. After Landon Collins and Damarious Randall were off the board - those who were left (especially free safeties) were basically projects. I believe the Giants had targeted Randall because he was by far the only true Free Safety that could translate to starter, and since they needed both a FS and SS, they had to get one of each, with probably a bigger need at FS. And Collins is a strong safety and not a free safety.

 

I don't know the grades the Giants had on all other free safeties in the draft, but the fact that Thompson was strictly a free safety with good combine numbers on his pro day, perhaps the thing that set him apart from the Derron Smiths and Kyshoen Jarretts (the two top ranked true free safeties on the board) was that not only was he a step faster, but was a special teams Ace.

 

Hard to know what went on in the war room. Guaranteed they know things we don't know and apparently, were really worried about getting a free safety among a group with extremely slim pickens. There were other safeties on the board with higher ratings - all of them strong safeties. And with Collins and Cooper fighting over the SS position, they needed someone to battle with Nat Berhe who could run like a deer.

 

Whatever the reason they did what they did...they didn't "throw away a 4th round draft pick" to target a special teams player only. It was simply a bonus that he happened to also be at the top of all statistics in the brutal Big 12 conference for ST tackles and it might have set him apart in their minds over the rest of the mediocre stock.

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I'll settle for mistake free and efficient .

 

That's all you need. A kicker who can kickoff 5+ yards deep into the endzone, not tough with where the kickoff is now, a punter who is consistent with where he places the ball, and strong and fast players who can run the field and make tackles. Anything else is bonus.

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