TC gives special teams high marks

December, 15, 2011
12/15/11
7:05
PM ET
Tom Coughlin isn't throwing his clipboard on the ground about his special teams anymore.

Coughlin talked highly on Thursday of his special teams play so far this season, complimenting his kicker, punter and his coverage teams. The only area Coughlin had an issue with was the team's return game.

"We cover well and we do a good job of that and Lawrence Tynes had six of seven touchbacks the other night," Coughlin said. "The punter did a nice job with his almost plus five or ten punts and downing the ball inside the 10. The only one that the returner handled, he had a ten-yard gain but we made a nice tackle."

The Giants' special teams became a part of history for allowing the famous DeSean Jackson punt return for a touchdown that played a pivotal role in why the Giants missed the playoffs last year. Wanting to get younger, faster and more athletic in the special teams, the Giants' coverage and kicking units have improved.

Coughlin particularly praised Tynes for his ability to get touchbacks, as he had six touchbacks on seven kickoffs against the Dallas on Sunday night. For the season, Tynes now has 33 touchbacks, shattering his previous career-high mark of eight.

Tynes said he feels healthy for the first time in three years after having three surgeries this past offseason. He did give some credit for his success in touchbacks to the kickoffs being moved up this year.

"I had a goal of 30 last year and I have more than that right now," Tynes said. "The weather is a huge part of it but I'm hitting the ball better and I feel good."

When it comes to punting, the team has received an upgrade by signing Steve Weatherford to replace Matt Dodge. Weatherford is 10th in the league in net punting average and has already placed 21 balls within the 20-yard line. When his punts do allow for a return, the coverage unit has been solid.

Giants special teams coordinator Tom Quinn said that having a seasoned punter like Weatherford, who can put the ball where he wants, helps the coverage.

"That and I think better covering," Tynes said. "They have better understanding, location definitely helps, it is kind of what we have been built for since I've been here. As long as you know where it's going you have a better chance to get to where you need to defend your position."

Matt Ehalt

ESPN New York contributor

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