The Giants went into this season with concerns regarding the safety position. While the personnel within the unit had improved from last season, Landon Collins and rookie free safety Darian Thompson created a questionable mindset for the Giants due to a lack of experience.
We are now nine weeks into the NFL season and the Giants may have the most confidence in their safety unit among all units on the team.
Though starting free safety Darian Thompson and back-up free safety Nat Berhe have only started in six games due to injuries, Andrew Adams, an undrafted rookie out of UConn, has excelled as the replacement.
Though Adams’ ability to shock just about everyone and become a beneficial member of the Giants is a huge deal, the Giants have even more to be excited about as far as the safety group goes.
Landon Collins has played at an all-pro level and is viewed by many as the best safety in the NFL this season. He is the only player in the NFL to lead his team in tackles, interceptions, and sacks. The second-year defender is on track to record 138 tackles, six interceptions, and six sacks.
Collins was a disappointment for the Giants last season. He was horrible in pass coverage and wasn’t anywhere near the dominant force that he is this year. Although this improvement can be credited to Collins maturing as a player, there is a much more subtle reason that is the true backbone to Collins’ success.
Last season, Collins was the Giants’ starting free safety. Again, this was due to a lack of talent in the secondary. With the Giants’ confidence in their free safeties, Collins has been allowed to play his natural position as a box safety.
This role allows Collins to be a huge factor on the line of scrimmage, which is where he is obviously recording the sacks and also the majority of his tackles.
When he isn’t on the line of scrimmage, he is roaming around in the secondary, while reading the quarterback, which has enabled him to come away with three interceptions. Last season, he was asked to cover tight ends, which is why he received so much criticism. Collins is not a cover safety. He is the type of player that you throw into the backfield and let work his magic.
Collins has now won two defensive player of the week awards. He is the first defensive back to win defensive player of the week in consecutive games since Troy Polamalu accomplished the feat back in 2010. For Collins’ name to even be mentioned with one of the best defensive backs of all-time goes to show the direction this young player is headed in.
If Collins can keep up this level of play, it is quite possible that he will be a candidate for the defensive player of the year award.