Safety Quintin Demps is the front runner to return kicks (Schwartz, July 13).
Demps averaged 30.2 yards on 33 kickoffs last season with the Chiefs, and sports an impressive 27.4 yard average on his career. He will compete with Trindon Holliday and, if healthy, David Wilson for the job.
Demps will likely be the team’s third safety after Will Hill was cut by the team (Samuel, June 25).
Demps will come up after Antrel Rolle and Stevie Brown on the roster.
“His speed. His speed, his ability to actually change directions and burst,” safeties coach David Merritt said recently. “Quintin has played back in the post for most of his career. One of the things that he told me when he first arrived was, ‘Coach, I want to be down near the box.’ So when he said that I said, ‘Well you know what, I’m going to give you all of the tools to hopefully help you be successful down around the box.’ His speed, his ability to change directions and burst is one of the valuable assets that he brings to the table.”
Demps was signed in mid-March after a stint with Kansas City, with an eye on return duties (BBB, March 16).
John Fennelly, Lead Writer
No question the Giants wanted to upgrade their return game from last season. Even in today’s NFL, land of the touchback, the kick and punt return aspect of special teams can make or break games. No team knows that better than the Giants.
Wilson led the league in kick returns and total yardage in 2012, but his 2013 campaign was cut short by his neck injury. The Giants were left with Michael Cox and Jerrel Jernigan to return kickoffs last season, neither who pose a threat to take it to the house. Over the course of the season they averaged a sliver over 22 YPA on 31 returns. The longest return of the season was by Cox, who broke off a 56-yarder late in the season.
Demps will see more time at safety due to the loss of Hill, and could be on the field more than the team had anticipated. This could cut down on the amount of attempts attempts he may get to return kicks and give the others – Holliday, Wilson (if he passes his physical) and Jernigan – opportunities to make a play.