For the past 7 years, Tom Quinn has been the special teams coach for the New York Giants organization and has undoubtedly worked with great talent. After an offseason dedicated to rebuilding, the Giants have one of the most diverse rosters in the league. With a group of multi-talented guys, Quinn is able to test the waters in training camp with a multitude of options.
It seems like the newest additions are ready breaking ground on special teams. According to Coach Quinn, the rookies have already made a smooth transition.
“All the rookies have done a good job mentally, number one," noted Quinn. "They've understood the fundamentals that we're teaching, number two. So now we just have to see them do it against somebody else. Do the techniques hold up, does it hold up mentally when you’ve got somebody else in a different color jersey coming down at you. So that's what is going to be the exciting thing to see on Friday night. [Shepard’s done a nice job; I think they've all done a nice job.”
As a former Cowboy, Dwayne Harris is also a key addition, walking into his second season with the Giants. In just one year, Harris became a game changer as the only Giants player to score on a pass, kickoff, and punt in the same season. Quinn weighed in on the versatile standout, who will play an active role this season as a core WR and return specialist.
“He's valuable. We didn't see much of the coverage because he was playing so many offensive snaps, so hopefully we'll get him back on kickoff and punts and playing at a high level. One of the things that really made him attractive to us was his coverage skills and his returning skills when we got him as a free agent,” Quinn said.
Perhaps they will be able to sustain being multidimensional players for the season with a new touchback rule to increase safety measures. Concussion issues have plagued the NFL for years and most recently, retirees have raised concern about the lasting effects, urging others to avoid the game. With the new standards, the league aims to increase the number of touchbacks in order to avoid violent collisions rooted in kick returns. Evidently, prioritizing safety is a league wide concern.
“I think everyone league wide, from special teams coaches all the way up to competition committee, the owners, we're all trying to find a way to keep it and to make it safe. Because there are some that are bad looking plays, so we're trying to eliminate those. Trying to do a better job of teaching how to block and how to take on blocks so we're not putting ourselves at risk. You know there's been a bunch of different things thrown out there, so we'd have to see how it would play out. We've done some things in practice and jog-throughs and standing starts so I don't think it would be, you know they if they took a 10-yard or 12-yard run up, down to a three-step run up, and it really didn't change it much so I don't know how much, there's still a lot of distance to cover and you can generate the speed,” Quinn said.