In the 27-26 loss to the undefeated New England Patriots, the Giants had a handful of opportunities to clinch a victory at home. The largest missed opportunity came on the Patriots game clinching drive, when Brady underthrew a forty yard pass right into the torso of a leaping Landon Collins.
The rookie safety appeared to have made the catch, but while rotating his body to the ground, the turf dislodged the football from his arms and the play was ruled an incompletion. Safety and secondary coach David Merritt spoke with the Giants Beat about the drop and Collins’ progression throughout his first season in the NFL.
“We spoke and the thing is that opportunities like that don’t come around too often,” Merritt said opening up. “So the young man understands that there was an opportunity for him to make a big play for the organization, for his teammates, and he came up short with it.”
A missed opportunity of that magnitude can be tough for a young player to wrap his head around. Coach Merritt provided the former Alabama all-pro with some professional advice.
“I just told him, ‘Hey those opportunities don’t come around too often, so you have to learn from it, and let’s move on to the next one,’ noted Merritt.
That mentality to look forward is key in the NFL, the next play is always the most important one and it’s essential for Collins to embody that sentiment in moments like these. As for his progression, Collins isn’t preparing himself to host the DROY trophy.
“Right now as a rookie, to go through the NFL as a starter, to see all of the concepts, and the speed of the game, he’s coming along very slowly right now,” said the Giants secondary coach.
Merritt sounds like he is being a bit critical of the Collins right after arguably the rookie’s biggest mistake of his career, but Merritt knows that the Giants are just trying to squeeze the most they can out of a very physically talented player.
“The game is fast mentally for him still, hopefully he can continue to progress, and move toward the player that we all know that we have in him,” admitted Merritt.
While comments that highly-drafted Collins is coming along slowly may provide a state of anxiousness for Giants fans, it is noteworthy that Merritt stated that this is common amongst most rookies.
“I think the thing that’s happening with Landon is again he’s moving along just like most rookies do, especially at a safety position, where you have to not only see formations, but you have to control everything when it comes to the cause,” Merritt stated.
According to the coaching staff, Collins has to enhance his memory retention of the playbook to make better in game adjustments and be a more effective starter. Only 10 games into his first season, number 21 has a lot of room and time to grow. That being said, that room to grow becomes exponentially shorter the more competitive the Giants are this season, as a playmaker at the safety position could be a game breaking factor in a potential playoff game.
Collins will look to refine his craft and increase his recollection of the playbook during the Giants bye week.