New York Giants: Tom Quinn

Just because the whole thing's not on fire this particular week doesn't mean there aren't fires to put out. This is the life of a head coach, and the New York Giants' Tom Coughlin knows it all too well.

Coughlin didn't like the behavior of Giants safety Antrel Rolle and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie following Rodgers-Cromartie's interception return for a touchdown in Sunday's blowout victory in Tennessee. The play was called back due to a penalty on Damontre Moore, but Rolle also got flagged for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for his celebration after Rodgers-Cromartie high-stepped the ball into the end zone.

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"I don't appreciate that," Coughlin said Monday, repeating what he'd said after the game about the incident. "What we talk about is 'team.' We don't talk about individuals. We talk about a team accomplishment, and I didn't like what it represented, and I will speak to the players that were involved in that."

It's not the first time this season that Rolle, a veteran and a team captain, has been involved in such an incident. After the game, he bristled a bit when asked about it.

"We're not talking about anything negative today," Rolle said after the Giants' first victory in two months. "It is what it is. We got caught up in the moment. A teammate made a play and we celebrate."

Time was, this could have been a big issue between Rolle and Coughlin. But the relationship between the two has deepened over time to the point where the discussion is likely to be civil, brief and professional.

Coughlin also was asked about a sideline incident between punter Steve Weatherford and special teams coach Tom Quinn after Weatherford blasted a 61-yard punt into the end zone for a touchback rather than out of bounds inside the 20. Coughlin said he hadn't seen the incident but would speak to both men about it to find out what happened and whether it's something that's a lingering problem going forward.

"I will be glad to talk to both of them about it, but it will be private, and it will remain that way," Coughlin said. "I'm interested in all things running as smoothly as possible. When competitive spirits are high, sometimes things happen and you don't want them to, and then you have to settle it down and continue as best you can professionally."

Weatherford said after the game that he and Quinn made up two minutes later and were upset about the same thing. Quinn and the other Giants coordinators only speak to the media on Thursdays.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Philadelphia Eagles have not dazzled the NFL this season the way they did last season. Offensive line issues and some struggles by quarterback Nick Foles and running back LeSean McCoy have sapped Chip Kelly's offense of some of its sizzle in the early going. And yet, the Eagles go into Sunday night's game against the New York Giants with a 4-1 record, which says a lot about what they've been able to do in one other key area of the game.

"They've won games on special teams," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. "You look at the San Francisco game, it's amazing -- punt return, blocked punt, interception return. They really didn't have much offense that day, but they had four shots at the end of the game to win the game. They've battled and they've scraped and they've been in every game and had a chance, really, to be 5-0."

The Eagles lost that game to the 49ers, but it featured two of the four special teams touchdowns they've had so far in this still-young season. Add in their three defensive touchdowns, and the Eagles have seven return touchdowns on the season. The Giants have allowed 10 return touchdowns (defensive and special teams combined) since the start of the 2013 season.

"They've been very productive, so you want to make sure you're ready for everything they've done," Giants special teams coordinator Tom Quinn said. "The kickoff return, the punt return, the punt protection... that's all been emphasized this week."

The Giants have looked closely at each of the Eagles' special teams touchdowns and identified the specific mistake or breakdown that was made on each one. But the ultimate lesson isn't about specifics. It's about an ability to maintain focus and concentration and intensity on every play in order to avoid being beaten on any play.

"They're good at just doing their jobs and doing it consistently," Giants linebacker Mark Herzlich said. "They wait on the other team to get bored, fall asleep, misalign, whatever, and then they take advantage."

Maybe more than any other game they play this season, the key in this one for the Giants will be to stay awake and alert on every single punt and kickoff. The Eagles aren't coming into this game hot on offense, but their return units are as hot as any in the league.

Odell Beckham Jr. could play Sunday

October, 2, 2014
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Of the 32 players selected in the first round of this year's NFL draft, the only one who has yet to appear in an NFL game is New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. He injured his hamstring on the first day of training camp, July 22, and didn't really return to practice until last week.

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Beckham
But after practicing two days in a row this week -- albeit on an officially "limited" basis -- Beckham has a chance to make his NFL debut Sunday in the Giants' home game against the Atlanta Falcons.

"We'll take it slow with him, but he would be a nice guy to add to the mix," offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo said Thursday of Beckham. "He has a unique skill set. We like the way he can get in and out of his routes. We like to cross-train as many different guys doing as many different things as we can. He's certainly mentally capable of handling things, and physically, he's a first-round pick. He's a talented man."

The Giants have been in three-wide receiver sets for nearly 80 percent of their offensive plays this year, which means that Beckham doesn't have to pass Victor Cruz or Rueben Randle on the depth chart to play a significant role. Once he's fully healthy (and again, that time has not yet come -- he's not even a 100 percent sure thing to play Sunday), he'll most likely slide into the outside receiver spot that's been handled by Jerrel Jernigan and Preston Parker so far this year.

Beckham also is someone who can return punts, though Giants coach Tom Coughlin said the other day that he doesn't have to be a punt returner in order to get on the field. The Giants have been happy with Parker in that role and can ease Beckham in as a receiver before throwing him back there on punts. McAdoo's not the only coordinator who's eager to see him, however.

"He's a dynamic player, and we've all kind of been anxious to see him," special teams coordinator Tom Quinn said. "When he was coming out of college, I thought he had running back-like run skills in a receiver's body. He's able to get vertical, has good elusiveness. That kind of stood out, in addition to the speed and the playmaking ability."

Giants coaches, players and fans have been eager to see Beckham in action since the team picked him No. 12 overall in May. That day could finally be on the horizon.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The key thing to know is that the punt-protector role is a new one for second-year New York Giants safety Cooper Taylor. Though, if you watched Sunday night's preseason game, you may have guessed that already.

Taylor was supposed to block the Buffalo Bills' Marcus Easley on a second-quarter Giants punt, but he simply did not. Easley breezed past him without any hesitation and blocked Steve Weatherford's kick.

"Yeah, it's fundamental," Giants special teams coordinator Tom Quinn said Wednesday. "You have to put your hat on the guy. You have to redirect him. He did not do that."

The Giants used Taylor as a "gunner" on special teams last year, sending him downfield on the outside to try to stop return men. But they're trying him this year in that inside role, lined up as a sort of tight end on the punt team to help protect the kick from being blocked.

"With his height/weight/speed combination, that should be a very natural position for him," Quinn said. "We're still working with him and trying to get him better. But that's something he has to work on."

Taylor was the Giants' fifth-round pick in the 2013 draft, and he's got a good chance to make this year's team as a backup safety. But he'd be no better than the No. 4 safety on the depth chart at this point, and anyone who fits that description also has to be able to contribute on special teams. This is something Taylor knows and takes quite seriously. However disgusted you may have been as a fan with his whiff Sunday night, he had you beat.

"It was one of the hardest days of my life," said Taylor, who redeemed himself a bit with an interception six plays later and played an overall strong game on defense. "My teammates all told me to keep my head up, and I was able to come back and get that interception. But it was definitely a trying game, definitely a learning experience for me."

Taylor's breakdown prompted coach Tom Coughlin to make punt protection a point of emphasis in Tuesday night's practice, and the head coach oversaw those drills directly. Coughlin also stayed after practice to watch Taylor work one-on-one with defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka on technique. That session continued after Coughlin left, with Kiwanuka spending a great deal of time both lining up against Taylor and speaking to him about proper form.

"All of our guys are real good with helping the young guys," Coughlin said. "They do an excellent job of that."

So Taylor has that going for him as he works to overcome the mistake that stood out above all of his positive play Sunday night. He also has time -- still four and a half weeks until the final roster cuts and nearly five weeks until the first game that counts.

What Zack Bowman brings

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Newly signed former Chicago Bears cornerback Zack Bowman was one of the standout stars of OTA and minicamp practices for the New York Giants this offseason. He will have to fight for playing time, as he sits on the depth chart behind projected starters Prince Amukamara and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and slot corner Walter Thurmond. Bowman's signing felt like a bit of a surprise after the Giants had signed Rodgers-Cromartie and Thurmond and re-signed Trumaine McBride. But there is a reason they signed Bowman that goes deeper than the fact that he is a cornerback.

Bowman has also been a big contributor on special teams throughout his career. The Giants allowed a league-leading 655 yards on punt returns last season, and their 13.6 return yards allowed per punt was third-worst in the league. We talked here Monday about the help they needed on returns, but the Giants also needed some help covering punts better.

To that end, special teams coach Tom Quinn last week mentioned Bowman, sixth-round pick Bennett Jackson and returning cornerback Charles James as guys who have looked good in punt return drills this spring, and had particular praise for the addition of Bowman to the group.

"He does have the experience, and that's something you can't replace," Quinn said. "And he has the speed, so you combine those two, and he has good size for a corner, so he can go ahead and challenge the two guys that are trying to blow him up. That's one of the toughest things to do on special teams -- to beat two guys and get down the field to make the tackle. He's done it before in this league, done it at a high level, and we're excited to have him."
The New York Giants ranked 26th in the NFL in punt-return average and 27th in kickoff-return average in 2013, so it's little surprise that they spent part of their offseason focus on those areas. They signed return men Quintin Demps and Trindon Holliday in free agency and drafted wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who has kick-return and punt-return experience, in the first round.

This gives them options for fixing one of their biggest problems, which they like.

"You've got three different types of returners when you talk about Beckham, Holliday and Demps," Giants special teams coach Tom Quinn said last week. "Obviously, with the speed of Holliday and the shiftiness, the undersized guy. And then you've got Demps, who's got a little more size and does that the straight-line speed. And then you've got Beckham, who's probably a combination of the two. We're real happy with all three of those guys."

Quinn said Beckham would work at punt returner and kick returner as the Giants figure out what the rookie can do and also prep him to play a major role on offense. He said they wouldn't be afraid to put him in the game as a returner just because they also play to use him at receiver.

"I think he'll be ready for anything we ask him to do," Quinn said. "A lot of times it gives those guys confidence and they progress on and they end up being offensive or defensive players down the road."

Quinn also said Holliday would work on both punt returns and kick returns, and he mentioned holdover receivers Rueben Randle and Jerrel Jernigan as being in the mix. Demps, it would seem, is slated for kick returns only, and his role on the defense at safety could be larger than initially expected due to the suspension and release of Will Hill.

"Demps, we're real excited to have him," Quinn said. "He's been consistent in this league and explosive. He's a legitimate No. 1 kickoff returner for us. He runs with good size, and he has a real good understanding of the schemes. A real leader, coming in likely to start and contribute on special teams."

Holliday is only 5-foot-5, and while offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo said he'd been a "pleasant surprise" as a contributor at wide receiver in the spring program, he's going to have to make the team as a return man. He has incredible speed but has had some issues with fumbling in his previous stops.

"His speed's an asset, that's for sure," Quinn said. "He's a strong guy for his size. Ball security obviously will be his biggest focus once we start putting pads on and start knocking him around a little bit. I haven't seen anything yet. I've been pleased with the way he's been tracking the ball. It's been a big focus on catching the punt and getting started, but I've been pleased with that."
For about an hour and a half Thursday afternoon, the New York Giants made all of their coordinators and assistant coaches available to speak to the media. It was a high-concentration information-gathering exercise during which we learned a lot. For example, someone asked special teams coordinator Tom Quinn how kicker Josh Brown has looked so far, and Quinn responded by saying that Brown and fellow kicker Brandon McManus, a rookie out of Temple, have looked very good. Quinn said he sees a training camp competition for the job between Brown and McManus.

"I see everything as a competition," Quinn said. "I really like McManus. I liked him coming out. I thought he was a really good kicker coming out of Temple. He's kicked in the Northeast at a high level, and I think he's got a lot of upside."

Brown kicked just fine for the Giants last year, but there's never any harm in finding out if you can upgrade at a spot like that. Quinn said both guys have been practicing the extra points from the 15-yard line, which the NFL will use on an experimental basis this preseason (the Giants and Bills in their first three preseason games because they have the extra one, everyone else in their first two), and that they've "handled that very well." Sounds as though kicker could be something to watch once camp starts next month.

Anyway, just an example, as I said. Over the coming days and weeks, we will roll out more information gleaned from Thursday's coaches sessions. Just wanted to give you all a heads up that the information pipeline isn't drying up just because the Giants are off for the next month.
Good morning and welcome to Week 2 of the New York Giants' offseason. Here's a look at some of the things we'll be monitoring this week:

The Giants are on the hunt for a new offensive coordinator following the resignation last week of Kevin Gilbride, but they also could be looking for a new defensive coordinator. Perry Fewell is interviewing Monday for the vacant head coaching position of the Washington Redskins. The Redskins are casting a wide net and looking at a lot of current NFL assistants, but I'd caution against assuming that Fewell is a Rooney-Rule token interview candidate. He's well regarded and well liked, and his defense performed very well against two different Redskins quarterbacks in 2013. Also, Fewell's been through that wringer before and likely wouldn't be bothered if he weren't convinced he was being taken seriously. I still think it's going to be tough for defensive coaches on the current market (Lovie Smith to Tampa notwithstanding), given the emphasis on offense and the 2013 success of fresh-offensive-idea rookie coaches like Chip Kelly in Philadelphia and Mike McCoy in San Diego. And anyone who's going to hire Fewell as a head coach is going to want to know (and be impressed with) his choice for offensive coordinator ahead of time. But there's no reason to think Fewell, who has a bit of head coaching experience from his time in Buffalo, isn't a real candidate in Washington. Could leave Tom Coughlin searching for two new top lieutenants.

At the end of last week, word around the Giants was that we shouldn't assume Gilbride would end up being the only coach to leave. Special teams coordinator Tom Quinn would seem to be in at least some trouble, given the way his unit performed this year. Coughlin has expressed support for his staff, but that didn't save Gilbride, and this week should offer a better sense of what other coaches may end up needing to be replaced.

While focus is on the coaching staff right now, the Giants can negotiate with their own free agents in advance of the start of the new league year. Part of the point of the organizational meetings they're having is to decide how to proceed with those free agents -- set priorities and desired prices, etc. My sense is that wide receiver Hakeem Nicks, defensive tackle Linval Joseph and cornerback Terrell Thomas will want to test the open market while Justin Tuck likely just wants a deal that keeps him in New York. But we should have a better idea about those situations within the coming weeks as well.
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Quinn not happy with special team blunders

October, 24, 2013
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants have given up three long punt returns for touchdowns in the first seven games of the season and special teams coach Tom Quinn is not taking that lightly.

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"They've all been different circumstances and it just hasn't been good enough for anyone," Quinn said Thursday. "We're all embarrassed by it."

In Week 2 against the Denver Broncos, Trindon Holliday's 81-yard return early in the fourth quarter was the backbreaker in a 41-23 Giants loss. Two weeks later in Kansas City, Dexter McCluster's 89-yard return late in the third quarter broke open a tight 10-7 game, leading to a 31-7 Chiefs victory.

Marcus Sherels' 86-yard return Monday night didn't ultimately hurt the Giants in their 23-7 defeat of the Minnesota Vikings -- but it certainly hurt Quinn.

"It's not what our expectations are," Quinn said. "It pisses you off and I hope it pisses everyone off in this building. To take away a shutout from the defense? That hurts. How many times do we get opportunities to do that? So, it's frustrating."

To be fair, Holliday and McCluster are among the more dangerous returners in the NFL right now. Holliday has two kick-return touchdowns and two punt-return touchdowns in the past season and a half with the Broncos. McCluster is leading the league in punt-return yardage this year.

On the Sherels return, "We didn't get good releases as the gunners and we didn't get great releases up front," Quinn said. "We have to sprint faster to the ball and squeeze to the ball. We have to make the play on that guy."

Next up is a rematch with the Philadelphia Eagles, who beat the Giants in Week 5. DeSean Jackson is still an Eagle, and who can forget his game-winning punt return against the Giants back in 2010? But Damaris Johnson has been Philadelphia's primary return man this season.

Johnson has yet to break one for a score. But he is fourth in the league in kick-return yardage (385).

Quinn isn't concerned with who the opposing team chooses to return kicks.

"We face great returners every week," Quinn said. "You just gotta do your job. You're paid to do the job, you gotta get it done."

Coordinator notes: Gilbride, Fewell, Quinn

December, 6, 2012
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Giants coordinators met with the media on Thursday. Here are some of the highlights:

OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR KEVIN GILBRIDE

• The Giants offense controlled the clock, racked up yards and moved the ball at will at times against the Redskins Monday night, but only ended up with 16 points. Gilbride pointed to the starting field position as a reason for why they didn't score more.

The best field position the Giants had was their own 24-yard line and they began five drives within their own 15-yard line. In the second half, their best starting position was the 20.

"You have to be just about perfect to put it in; the percentages (aren't high) ... ," Gilbride said. "That's why there's defenses and a lot of defensive coaches in the league that premise their defense on that strategy: you can't drive without making a mistake."

DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR PERRY FEWELL

• In three of the Giants five losses this year (Dallas, Pittsburgh and Washington), the defense has been unable to get the ball back for the offense. Throw in the Philadelphia loss, when the team gave up the go-ahead field goal on the Eagles' final possession, and the Giants have struggled in those final few minutes when they need a stop.

Just like head coach Tom Coughlin said last year, Fewell preaches that the defense needs to be able to finish. Washington was able to pick up three first downs in the final 3:51.

"Obviously we want to close out and be able to finish games. The opponents executed better than we have, so my frustration is our execution," Fewell said. "I think we've been in position to make plays to get off the field and do that, and we have not executed and we have been in position to execute. I think it just comes down to our whole theme, which is: finish. We know how to, we’re just not consistent at finishing."

• Fewell believes Antrel Rolle's claim that the Giants need to be nastier was a way to try to rally the team for the final four games.

"I think he’s trying to send a message that it’s time to get going, boys, it’s December and we have to do a much better job than we’ve been doing," Fewell said.

SPECIAL TEAMS COORDINATOR TOM QUINN

• Quinn said that receiver Domenik Hixon, who has had success as a return man in the past, could see work as a kickoff or punt returner in the future. He said Hixon could potentially be used more on kickoffs if David Wilson sees an increase in play time on offense.

• NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is considering eliminating kickoffs, according to a TIME Magazine article. Quinn doesn't see a need to make any change.

"It's a good part of the game," Quinn said. "I think kicking off from the 35 has decreased the number of injuries, and we’ll continue to see that trend."

Coordinator notes: Gilbride, Fewell, Quinn

November, 8, 2012
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride, defensive coordinator Perry Fewell and special teams coordinator Tom Quinn all met with the media Thursday. Here’s some of the highlights of what they had to say as the Giants prepare to face the Bengals on Sunday.

GILBRIDE

• The Giants offense has struggled in recent weeks, putting up back-to-back underwhelming efforts against the Cowboys and Steelers. The offensive coordinator acknowledged that not having wide receiver Hakeem Nicks and running back Ahmad Bradshaw healthy has affected the offense.

“You have, these are the plays you like, and you like them because your players perform them, and defensively, this is what they’re vulnerable at,” Gilbride said. “The problem is now, certain guys can’t do those things, even though you intellectually say, that’s the way the scheme (works) and they’re vulnerable. It’s good, but guess what, he can’t do it. Whether it’s through injury or a guy that does different things well, there’s no question that it impacts, no question about it.”

Eli Manning has come under fire recently for his play, as he has thrown just one touchdown in the past 14 quarters and has struggled in the past three games. Gilbride wanted to take some of the heat off his quarterback for the team’s stagnant offensive play.

“He gets way too much credit when things go well; he gets way too much blame when things don’t go well because that position only performs as well as the guys around them. It’s not just him, it’s all of us, trust me,” Gilbride said. “We all have to do a better job. Of course, it falls on my shoulders. We need to make sure we get those guys in position, that we’re asking them to do things where they can be successful.”

FEWELL

• Tom Coughlin ripped the Giants' rush defense in Sunday’s loss, saying the defense looked soft. The defensive coordinator pointed to lapses in fundamentals

“I thought that we didn’t shed well and we didn’t tackle well. That was my impression of how we played,” Fewell said. “We could’ve tackled a hell of a lot better. We could’ve shed a hell of a lot better in that football game to make some football plays."

• The current Giants defense might not be a throwback to the Giants defense of the 1980s, but Fewell believes this group embodies what a Giants defense has historically represented.

“Eleven to the ball, hard-hitting defense. Never say die,” Fewell said. “Obviously, we want to take the football away, turn the football over. We want to be relentless in our pursuit and swarm to the football.”

QUINN

• After getting gashed by the Steelers in the return game last Sunday, the Giants special teams unit was not too pleased with its effort.

“We’re (ticked) about that. The defense bailed us out, take our hats off to them, but we have to do our job,” Quinn said. “We didn’t do our job, we weren’t physical enough, weren’t fast enough down the field and we didn’t get off any blocks.”

• Quinn is pleased with the job Rueben Randle has done as the team’s punt returner, but would also like to see some more aggressiveness. Randle has just 10 returns on the season for 69 yards, compared to 12 fair catches. The team averages 6.7 yards per punt return.

Giants face big challenge on special teams

January, 19, 2012
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Giants special teams coach Tom Quinn knows his guys are in for a big test on Sunday, calling the 49ers' special teams unit the best in the NFL.

"They're very, very solid," Quinn said on Thursday. "Exceptional punter, exceptional kicker, great returner. They are very well-rounded and very well-coached."

AP Photo/Jeff ChiuDavid Akers


Placekicker David Akers connected on a league-best 44 field goals (out of 52 attempts) during the regular season. Akers missed just once from inside 40 yards, and made seven of nine from 50-plus yards.

Punter Andy Lee led the NFL in both average (50.9) and net (44.6) yards per punt.

The Giants may catch a break, though. Talented return man Ted Ginn missed practice for the second straight day on Thursday, after sustaining a knee injury against the Saints last weekend.

But Quinn said Ginn's backup will also pose a threat. "They got another guy. It is [Kyle] Williams, he'll probably be the guy. He's got some good returns on tape, punt returns and kickoff returns. We're preparing for both."

Ginn was third in the NFL in average yards per kickoff return this season (27.6), and fourth in average yards per punt return (12.3), scoring a touchdown on each.

"He's a great player, but they've got other good players," Quinn said. "They’re so well-rounded, they block well, so you can put [in] another returner that's got good speed, and good running skills."

TC gives special teams high marks

December, 15, 2011
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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."

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