Kick return specialist Trindon Holliday was one of the more intriguing free-agent signings of the offseason for the New York Giants. Let's look at the 5-foot-5, 166-pound Holliday as we continue our player-by-player profiles of the 90-man roster the Giants will bring to training camp next month.
2013 Season In Review
Playing for the Denver Broncos, Holliday returned 28 kickoffs for an average of 27.7 yards, seventh in the league. He had one kickoff return for a touchdown. He returned 32 punts for an average of 8.5 yards and one touchdown, an 81-yarder at MetLife Stadium against the Giants. Over two full NFL seasons, the 28-year-old Holliday has averaged 9.3 yards on punt returns and 27.1 yards on kickoff returns.
2014 Season Outlook
This one really is tough to call. Potentially, Holliday could bring an element to the Giants' kick return game -- especially returning punts -- that the Giants have not had in some time. There is, however, also the possibility that Holliday -- depending on how many quarterbacks the Giants keep and needs at other positions -- doesn't even make the final roster.
During OTAs and mini-camp. Holliday took first-team reps in punt return. Reuben Randle and Odell Beckham Jr. took most of the remaining reps. As a kickoff returner, Holliday generally took second-team reps behind Quintin Demps. David Wilson and Jerrel Jernigan also took reps there.
"We've always known about him. You study all of the really good returners and so you have a book on them all. When he became available we were happy to go get him," said Giants' special teams' coach Tom Quinn. "His speed's an asset, that's for sure. He's a strong guy for his size, ball security obviously will be his biggest focus once we start putting pads on and start knocking him around a little bit."
Holliday has fumbled 11 times in 130 career returns, an average of once every 11.8 returns. That, obviously, is not going to fly with Tom Coughlin. With other return options, it is one of the reasons to hesitate before anointing Holliday as the Giants' primary kickoff or punt returner.
"We have experienced guys that have been in this league, it's always exciting," Quinn said. "We'll just see how it all plays out and how we can use them to fit their best abilities."
Holliday's chances of making the roster will be helped immensely if he shows improved ball security during training camp and the preseason. He will also help make a case for himself if he can show an ability to help as a wide receiver. In his two NFL seasons, Holliday has caught only two passes. During offseason workouts the Giants have obviously worked hard to find out if Holliday can be an option at wide receiver, trying to get the ball to him on screens and other quick throws to the outside. It remains to be seen if that effort will prove successful.
"We'll take all the plays we can get from anybody out there but Trindon has a special skill set," said offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo. "He has some speed, he has some quickness, he's done a nice job as a receiver in there also in the slot making plays and also doing things outside so he's been a pleasant surprise."
Holliday will be one of the more intriguing players to watch during training camp and the preseason.