Linebacker Devon Kennard was playing a limited role for the New York Giants the first half of the season, coming off the field in most passing situations. In recent weeks, though, Kennard’s role has increased. After playing more than 40 percent of the snaps only twice thru eight games, Kennard has been on the field more than 60 percent of the time in each of the last three games.
The difference? The Giants have been using Kennard as a pass-rushing defensive lineman in obvious passing situations.
“He loves it. Are you kidding me? He loves it,” said linebackers coach Bill McGovern. “I think we understand guy’s skillsets and we are trying to get them on the field as much as we can and I think nobody would be more prepared than DK. He does a great job in terms of preparation. He loves the challenge of going up there.”
Kennard had 4.5 sacks as a rookie in 2014, but has not had one since.
QB coach downplays missed throws
Eli Manning has a career-best 63.2 percent completion rate after 11 games, but the 13-year veteran missed a few opportunities deep down the field last week vs. the Cleveland Browns. Giants’ quarterbacks coach Frank Cignetti isn’t going to overreact to a couple of missed throws.
“I just think it happens. When you look at taking a few shots, I think he took six maybe, you know, shots down the field. You hope to hit a couple; you're not going to hit them all,” Cignetti said.
Manning has 12 touchdown passes in the last four games after having only eight in the first seven games.
“You look at Eli's play; he's making great decisions. Throwing the timing and the rhythm, his accuracy has been outstanding,” Cignetti said. “The perimeter players have done a great job getting open. It starts up front with great protection. You just look at the offense playing well together in those moments.”
Podcast: Giants-Pittsburgh Steelers preview
Andrew Brill, Giants reporter for ESPN radio and co-host of ESPN NY tonight, joined the Big Blue Chat podcast on Friday to help break down Giants-Steelers. Give the show a listen below.