The second-round pick from Alabama struggled to find his way last year and was unable to execute in a disoriented defense. Now, he has a more established role and is ready to not only perform, but also be a leader for other rookies.
“Landon Collins now is very confident in himself and very knowing— very understanding of the situation and progress with what he’s learned. If you saw him this past year, his standard of playing is elevated— last year, Landon was kind of just out there just trying to make plays and going through the motions, just trying not to mess up. So that’s probably the biggest thing— you could say that last year I was kind of lost and just trying to figure it out as the season went on,” Collins said.
Collins made his NFL debut as a free safety, which was not reflective of his normal role on the field, and was the only defensive player to start all 16 games. He was thrown into a whirlwind of criticism as opposing teams capitalized on his coverage deficiencies. Collins experienced a tough transition from being a college standout at Alabama as a unanimous All-American to being one of the factors that hindered the lowest ranked defense in the NFL.
Now Collins seems to be ready for a new season in which he will confidently contribute to a developing defensive effort. He will no longer seek to simply find his role, but will take a leadership position going into preseason training.
“[I] [will] Just be a better playmaker— a game changer. Being in the right position is my biggest concern, because last year I was not. I was always kind of scattered all over the field and didn’t know where to do things at, and now that I know where to be and how to help and so on, I’ll be able to see more and then not just key on what I was trying to key on.”
A lot of people outside of the organization believe that Collins can be more effective as an undersized linebacker, but the Giants will continue to use him as a safety and are confident in his ability to perform. Collins has high hopes for the Giants defense in the upcoming season.
“The defense is going to be way better than last year,” Collins said.
In order to make the playoffs, the Giants will not only have to be better than last year, they will have to come in as a different team as they gear up for a tough season, including early games against NFL standouts such as the Bengals and Patriots.