It was not too long ago that the Giants’ special teams were a running joke. Their entire 2010 season was blown up by a punt return.
Since then, they signed a professional punter in Steve Weatherford and their placekicker is setting team records. Even though Lawrence Tynes failed on what would have been a game-winning 54-yard FG last Sunday, he can’t be held accountable for the miss. It was way out of his range…
The return game has been revitalized by rookie RB David Wilson, who has three kickoff returns of 40 or more yards. He is averaging 30.2 yards per attempt, the highest of any NFL player with 10 or more returns.
Special teams coordinator Tom Quinn, who has been here through the good and the bad, spoke with the media yesterday:
Q: Your kicker said that there was some thought to faking the field goal attempt at end of Philly game.
A: Yeah, I mean you sit back and look at all the possibilities…It just wasn’t something that we talked about.
Q: It seemed like it would have been hard. It was third down. How would that have worked?
A: We were kicking the field goal. That was our mindset and I felt like he could he make it and we just didn’t get it done.
Q: Tom said that was the outer edge of his range. I guess you were hoping to get to the 35. What made you decide to kick it from the 36?
A: Well the time. There’s 15 seconds. If you don’t get it out of bounds, then game over, so you don’t get another play to run. So you can’t get the field goal team on, the offense off in that amount of time, run a play and then do the transition.
Q: What would be the appropriate amount of time for that?
A: Like 20 seconds. That’s the cut off usually.
Q: Can you talk about the kickoff return blocking that David has had to work with? Those guys seem to be blocking for him well.
A: They did well. It’s something we’ve been working on for years, unfortunately, and I think we have the right mix with a good returner and guys are really taking ownership in it, so they’ve done a good job up to this point.
Q: Have any of your blocking schemes changed this year?
A: No, it’s been the same. There’s always some tweaks that you have to do week to week based on who you’re playing and who you have to block, but it’s been, for the most part, the same the last couple of years.
Q: Tom and David said that guys block harder when they know that there’s a guy back there who can take it to the house. Do you think that’s true?
A: I think it is. You look at the teams with the real good returners and they stick on a little bit longer because you don’t want to be that guy where your guy makes the tackle. So we’re always talking about don’t be the guy where your man makes a tackle, so I think when they see a guy that’s breaking them past the 20, the 30, you don’t want to let your guy do that. So they take a little more ownership in it.
Q: Some of those holes were pretty big for him to run through. Is it a surprise of how well he executed some of the returns?
A: Well Philly had a couple of guys down, so they were missing Jordan and Colt Anderson, their two top special teams guys, so that probably played a big role in that, but no. There were some holes there and he read them correctly and he was able to get up and through them.