Monday, March 17, 2014
Giants serious about improving return game
By Dan Graziano ESPN.com
The New York Giants ranked 27th in the NFL in kick-return average in 2013. In the past two days, they have added the players who ranked third and fifth in kick-return average in 2013. That's what you call commitment to upgrade an area of need.
A day after signing safety and kick returner Quintin Demps, the Giants agreed to terms Monday with kick and punt return specialist Trindon Holliday, who ran a punt back 81 yards for a touchdown against them in the Broncos' Week 2 victory in MetLife Stadium in September.
Holliday ranked fifth in the league with 27.7 yards per kick return in 2013 and 17th in the league with an average of 8.5 yards per punt return. He's immediately the leading candidate to return punts in 2014, since Demps hasn't really done it, but the idea that they could conceivably put both of these guys back on the same kick return is pretty exciting if you're a Giants fan.
Holliday is nominally a wide receiver, but he has only two receptions in his NFL career and functions exclusively as a return man. He's known as one of the fastest in the game, and his career average on punt returns is 9.4 yards. Like pretty much every one of the 15 free agents the Giants have signed in the past seven days, he'll be 28 years old when the season starts.
This was a major need area for the Giants, and they are addressing it aggressively. Overall roster depth remains important for them to build, since part of their issue in the return game was the blocking for the return men, and the more quality depth you have on your roster the better your special teamers are. But there is no denying that Demps and Holliday represent a major shot in the arm and should make the Giants' return game considerably more fun and exciting beginning in Week 1.