NFC East: trindon holliday

One last New York Giants Twitter mailbag before I start a too-brief summer vacation ... @DanGrazianoESPN: Yeah, I think that's a fair expectation, and I think you saw the Giants lean that way last year with Terrell Thomas as the regular nickel corner. They signed Walter Thurmond to play that position, and he's as good at it as anyone in the league. And they're thin at safety with Will Hill suspended and released, Stevie Brown coming off knee surgery and Quintin Demps having been signed primarily to return kicks. They have been talking a lot about keeping Antrel Rolle at safety, rather than using him all over the field as they've done in years past, and obviously sticking with a three-cornerback look would help with that. I honestly don't see the need for the old three-safety package, especially if Jon Beason is back healthy at middle linebacker early in the season. It worked well during that 2011 Super Bowl season, but that year they were thin at cornerback and linebacker and deep at safety. You're right if your point is that the scheme should be based around the personnel, and right now cornerback is a Giants strength. @DanGrazianoESPN: With Beason nursing a foot injury, the starting middle linebacker in training camp (and probably for Week 1) is going to be Jameel McClain. He projects as the starting strongside linebacker if Beason's healthy, but he's taking over in the middle while he's not. Jacquian Williams is the front-runner for the starting weakside linebacker spot, and the strongside position should belong to either Spencer Paysinger or rookie Devon Kennard, who impressed coaches with his minicamp performance. As for receivers, that's an interesting case. My first thought is that they keep six -- Victor Cruz, Rueben Randle, Mario Manningham, Odell Beckham Jr., Jerrel Jernigan and Trindon Holliday. But Holliday isn't really likely to factor as a receiver, as he's pretty much exclusively a kick and punt returner. So that would leave them with five real receivers (four if Manningham's knee won't let him answer the bell). That opens it up for someone like a Marcus Harris, Julian Talley or Corey Washington to possibly sneak onto the roster with a good camp, but that's a long shot. @DanGrazianoESPN: Based on my conversations with Giants people (and with Will Beatty himself) last year and this spring, I think the main reason Beatty struggled was technique. He's not a big, monstrous, mauling left tackle who relies on strength and an ability to overpower people. Beatty's success, when he's had it, has had more to do with quickness and athleticism. I was told last season while he was struggling that Beatty was playing with his hands too low, giving away leverage and hurting his ability to dictate his matchups. That sounds like an easy thing to fix, but bad habits are tough to break, and as the year went along the struggles got into Beatty's head. He admitted in December that he'd felt the weight of his free-agent contract and let the pressure get to him, and I think he was looking forward to an offseason to clear his head. The problem is that Beatty's offseason has been about recovery from that broken leg he suffered in the Week 17 game against the Redskins, and he hasn't had time to practice getting back into good habits. I agree that a Beatty rebound would have a positive ripple effect along the rest of the line, but at this point you have to consider him a major question mark, and not just because of the injury. @DanGrazianoESPN: The firing of their longtime tight ends coach does rank among the more surprising moves of the Giants' offseason. But when they hired young Ben McAdoo as their new offensive coordinator, it was only fair to assume he'd want to bring in a few of his own coaches and help construct the staff. During those discussions, it was decided that Pope's position would be one of the ones to turn over. They moved wide receivers coach Kevin M. Gilbride (the son of the former offensive coordinator) to tight ends coach, Sean Ryan from quarterbacks coach back to wide receivers coach and hired Danny Langsdorf as the new quarterbacks coach. Pope was a Giants icon, and the only person whose name is on all four of the franchise's Super Bowl trophies. But there was an effort to get a bit younger on the coaching staff this offseason. Tight end Adrien Robinson spoke during OTAs about how he's felt a different kind of connection with the younger Gilbride than he did with Pope, and if that's the case with the rest of the group it might answer your question. Thanks for all of your questions. If you need me, I'm on the golf course.

Twitter mailbag: OTA thoughts

June, 7, 2014
Jun 7
11:14
AM ET
You asked. You used the #nygmail hashtag on Twitter. I scrolled. I answer.
 
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.

Holliday
Demps
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.

Locker Room Buzz: New York Giants

September, 15, 2013
9/15/13
9:01
PM ET
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Observed in the locker room after the New York Giants' 41-23 loss to the Denver Broncos.

Snee
They know they have been here before: Giants coach Tom Coughlin said the fact that the 2007 Giants started 0-2 and went on to win the Super Bowl "was mentioned" in the postgame locker room, and guard Chris Snee said he believed it was defensive end Justin Tuck who mentioned it. But Snee was ready for the question and not eager to rush to the comparison. "That was a different team," Snee said. "We'll see what kind of team we have and what kind of fight we have."

Brotherly love: Eli Manning said that he and his brother, Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, spoke for about 10 minutes before the game and that he didn't expect Peyton to give him a hard time about being 3-0 lifetime in their head-to-head starts. "These are our jobs," Eli said.

Unusual request: When there's a crowd of reporters around the locker of long snapper and special teamer Zak DeOssie, you know something went wrong. DeOssie didn't offer much of an explanation for Trindon Holliday's 81-yard punt return for a touchdown. "I missed him," DeOssie said. "I wish I hadn't."

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