Giants: Collins’ Impressive Play Will Get Even Better Over Time
The New York Giants’ defense had a shaky start to the season, especially during their three game skid from Week Three to Week Five. However, one player has given the entire defense a whole new identity. That player is 22 year old safety Landon Collins.
Despite the $200 million worth of acquisitions this past offseason, Collins has emerged when the Giants needed them most, after their three game losing streak. The start of the true arrival of Collins came in Week 7 in London against the Los Angeles Rams. Collins came up with two interceptions, one of which he returned 44 yard for a touchdown, after breaking five tackles. His play continued after the Giants’ Week 8 bye week, coming up with an interception against the Eagles and against the Bengals.
There has been no signs of a sophomore slump for Collins and is making his presence felt on the Giants and across the league.
“He’s still a young player,” said Giants Head Coach Ben McAdoo. “He’s growing. He’s not a finished product. He can still can get better and he will get better.”
“…the kid is committed, film studying, he’s coming into meetings with good questions and doing a great job at accepting his role and any role we put him into,” said Giants Secondary/Safeties Coach David Merritt Sr. “That’s what I attribute it to. He’s done a good job as a first safety for us.”
Collins’ ball-hawking and explosive tackling have been true factors to his progression. These are the same skills that one of Collins’ idols possessed on the field. That player was the late Washington Redskins cornerback Sean Taylor. Collins was so inspired by Taylor throughout his life, that he studied Taylor’s play and emulated it throughout his life. Collins even wears the same number that Taylor wore throughout his career, the number 21.
If you look at Collins statistics from last season and this season, you can see that Collins already has passed last season’s interception numbers. Now look at his total tackles numbers from last season, as well as this season. Collins has 60 total tackles through nine games this season, compared to 84 total tackles. If Collins continues at his current pace, he will easily pass that. Collins has learned from his play from last season to improve during the offseason and throughout his sophomore season.
“Knowing the defense, being sound and accountable,” said Collins. “Making sure I make the right calls. Being in the right position.”
Collins is now on every team’s radar, knowing the threat that he brings to the middle and deep portion of the field. This includes the Giants opponent this weekend, the Chicago Bears.
“He’s good on the edge, good in coverage, they drop him down to linebacker level and have him fill gaps,” said Bears quarterback Jay Cutler. “You can tell he brings a lot of energy to that defense.”
In that 2015 NFL Draft, the Alabama Crimson Tide safety was projected to be drafted in the Top Ten of the first round as the draft class’ top safety. Surprisingly, Collins left the first night of the draft undrafted. On the second day, Collins didn’t have to wait long to hear his name called. After the Giants traded up to the first pick of the second round with the Tennessee Titans, the Giants answered a dire need at the safety position and selected Collins. The 33rd overall pick of the 2015 NFL Draft has already made the proverbial strong statement for winning the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year. This is even surreal for Collins himself.
“…I prayed on it and I thank the Lord for everything that’s going for me,” said Collins. “He’s blessing me right now.”
Giants’ fans are witnessing the evolution of Landon Collins. We are in for a treat for years to come as Collins play will continue to grow over time.