New York Giants’ safety Landon Collins wasn’t happy about missing out on being named the 2016 defensive player of the year.
Collins had an incredible breakout campaign in 2016 was rare in the NFL history books. With 131 tackles, five sacks, five interceptions, and fifteen passes defensed, Collins finds himself in the company of the likes of all-time greats like Ed Reed, Rod Woodson, Troy Polamalu, and Charles Woodson.
But for Collins that wasn’t good enough.
“I want to get better reading my line of scrimmage reads, my technique, and being in the right place,” Collins said. “There were a lot of plays where I could have been in a different place and made more plays. I could have had 10 picks if I had been where I needed to be. That’s what I want to work on.”
So far, Collins has.
The third year safety has been a human wrecking ball, laying waste to offenses since pre-season started. He has played so fast, with such intensity, that many have commented that he has looked as though he was playing in post-season games instead of pre-season games.
He made his splashiest play of the preseason (so far) with a interception returned for a touchdown.
“I kind of just baited him (Christian Hackenberg) into it,” Collins said. “Just kind of sat back and triggered when I saw the ball release. My eyes got very big. I said, ‘Oh, it’s just me, ball and green grass.’ ”
Splash play aside, Collins was all over the field in his 33 snaps, racking up four tackles and a pass defensed. Unsurprisingly, advanced statistics service Pro Football Focus gave Collins the highest grade of the game, for either team.
S, Landon Collins - 90.1
Collins is an intimidating force in the giants secondary. The safety made his presence felt early with a pick-6 off of QB Christian Hackenberg by undercutting the quarterback’s throw and taking it to the house. The third-year safety continues to make big time plays for this defense both in the run and pass, and saw just a 9.8 passer rating into his coverage.
It took a performance like Collins’ to overshadow JPP. There was concern from some that JPP would be complacent after receiving a big contract of his own. It was a long time coming, doubly so considering how much Pierre-Paul has had to overcome to earn it. Since sitting out the pre-season opener against Pittsburgh, JPP has been dynamic, and against the Jets he had three tackles, two for a loss (one of which was a safety), a sack, and a pass defensed in 29 snaps.
Pro Football Focus graded him second behind Collins with an 87.2 grade
His performance Saturday night could likely be summed up with this:
While everyone has been concentrating on left tackle Ereck Flowers, alternatively searching for some sign that he is improving or still a raging dumpster fire (spoilers: he has been solid and effective, if not spectacular), Bobby Hart has been quietly solid. Like Flowers, Hart spent his offseason in the Giants’ facilities, working to transform his body and improve himself over a disappointing 2016 season.
That trend continued in his 33 snaps against the Jets’ daunting defensive line.
RT, Bobby Hart - 82.8
The breakout star of the Giant’s offensive game was unquestionably undrafted rookie receiver Travis Rudolph. Rudolph got a chance to play with the offensive starters thanks to injuries to Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall. All in all he saw 33 offensive snaps, and he made the most of them.
WR TRAVIS RUDOLPH, 79.4 OVERALL GRADE
Rudolph showed his big-play ability by turning desperate throws into big gains. He caughts all three of his catchable targets producing a 95.8 passer rating when targeted.
Rudolph isn’t a burner, running just a 4.65s 40 yard dash at the NFL combine, but he has remarkably quick feet. He used them to take two catches where he bailed out Josh Johnson and Geno Smith and turn them into big plays,
The other offensive breakout candidate was offensive lineman Brett Jones. Jones took over at right guard for John Jerry and had an immediate impact. We’ll be taking a closer look at the tape later on, but the offense as a whole seemed to immediately get traction when Jones took Jerry’s place.
It shouldn’t be particularly surprising, PFF graded him as the best offensive lineman on the field in the Giants’ Monday night game against the Browns.
Jones pulled double-duty and returned to his natural center position with the second team offense, and played a total of 38 snaps between the two positions.
Also in the hunt for the starting right guard job, D.J. Fluker played 39 snaps with the first and second teams.