With a 2-6, no element of a team is at full strength. Such is the case with the New York Giants.
The team's offense has struggled at times to protect Eli Manning and run the ball consistent. The defense has not consistently pressured the quarterback. And the special teams has failed to, well, do anything too well.
According to special teams coordinator Tom Quinn, the Giants have room to improve multiple elements of their special teams play, including punting, the return game and eliminating penalties.
"Continuity is important because if we're all used to working with each other -- and I know which way you're gong to go and you know which way I'm going to go -- we can work off each other," he said. "It's starting to come around. The last couple of weeks we started to feel a sense of continuity and sense of who they are, but it's always ever-changing. That's the nature of special teams."
During the bye week, Quinn pinpointed hang time, distance and locations of punts as the main area the special teams unit had to improve upon. Of course, punting is critical when the team ranks 22nd in the league in total offense.
Improving the punting falls upon not only punter Steve Weatherford, but the coverage team, too.
"We looked at the punt extensively," Quinn said. "(Putting) it in a consistent area where you know it's going to be as a (member of the) coverage team, and then the second thing was the quickness of the ball and then the quickness of the release being more violent ... to be able to get out and run and take the lane you're supposed to take."
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Quinn is frustrated with the lack of explosiveness on punt returns. Rueben Randle has had two 20-plus-yard returns negated because of penalties.
That could certainly change, however, as the punt return team will get back a handful of starters who were sidelined due to injuries. Quinn is looking forward to more success with Randle returning pants in the second half of the season.
"We have been more pressure-oriented than probably we would like, and that has a little bit to do with the health of the guys on the outside. But they're starting to come around ... and we're starting to get a little bit more balance," he said. "Hopefully we'll get some more return opportunities and more return looks."
Quinn would also welcome more success on kick returns. The Giants rank 26th in terms of kick return yardage, averaging a mere 21 yards per return. Of course, the team has had only 19 opportunities to return kickoffs.
But as the season progresses, more opportunities may emerge, according to Quinn, who expects weather and fatigue to be critical factors in the second half.
"As the weather changes and guys get some kicks underneath them, they get a little bit tired and then the balls will be more in play," he said. "We haven't gotten in a groove with that. We've had a couple of different returners, but Jerrel (Jernigan) has done it for a number of years. Hopefully we can get into a rhythm with that."
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