2011 New York Giants Need Changes on Special Teams

January 20, 2011

NEW YORK – The New York Giants need help on special teams and the sooner the better. There have been no reports about any coaching changes or news of any plans to make changes. I am surprised by this because I thought the team would address the special teams squad a week after their season ended. The future of punter Matt Dodge has not been discussed yet and the continued employment of special teams coach Tom Quinn has yet to be determined. Trust me, fans are paying close attention to both of these situations.

I do not believe that Coach Quinn’s job security should be contingent upon the leg of a rookie punter, let me be clear about that. If the woes were strictly limited to poor punting then I would focus solely on the punter but it was much worse then that. The special teams gave up big plays, gave up TD’s and made some boneheaded mistakes. It was painful to watch them on the field and I would cringe every time they lined up for a punt or kick. The return game was no better. The Giants went through a bunch of return men, including bringing in talent mid-season with Reynaud and Blackmon. It feels like Big Blue went through a dozen different returners by the time the regular season was over. This lack of consistency contributed to the team having one of their worst seasons ever on special teams. It was certainly one of the worst I can remember.

I mentioned possibly drafting a return specialist in the 7th round of the 2011 NFL draft (using the last pick). Some people think it is a good idea and some weren’t so sure about it. I made sure to include the stipulation that the return specialist should be a cornerback or wide receiver only. This way they could also double as depth to those crucial positions next year. I have not forgotten that WR Domenik Hixon will be back for 2011 but the truth is that we don’t know how well he will perform after coming back from an injury. I hope he is fully healthy and can be better then ever but I’m not willing to endure another season like 2010 on special teams and would like to hedge all bets. I’m sure that Coach Coughlin and GM Jerry Reese are very concerned about this group and will have the best possible talent on the field by the time the 2011 Giants training camp rolls around.

One position the team will not have to worry about for a while is long snapper. The Giants long snapper Zak DeOssie was named to his second Pro Bowl today and will be the 5th Giant named to the Pro Bowl this year. DeOssie has played his entire career in New York since being drafted by the Giants in 2007.

What changes can be made during the offseason to help the Giants special teams improve in 2011?

RD – nygreporter.com