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Landon Collins wants to captain Giants’ defense

The fourth-year safety is excited to see what the Giants’ first-team defense can do with three quarters of work against the Jets

New York Giants v Washington Redskins Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

New York Giants safety Landon Collins is ready to take on a leadership role. When asked on Wednesday if being named captain is something he will be seeking out, he responded with, “that’s an easy question, yes,” adding, “I definitely want to be a captain of this defense one of these years.”

Giants head coach Pat Shurmur will be naming team captains for the season following the team’s final preseason game. And it’s a good year for Collins to finally be named defensive captain; the 2015 second-round draft pick has been named to the Pro Bowl for the past two season and has started in all 47 games he’s played. It’s also the final year of his rookie contract, with no guarantee that he’ll remain with the Giants in 2019. “One of these years,” may instead be “one of these days.”

Collins shared his thoughts on leadership in an NFL locker room:

“It comes through regardless of the fact, winning or losing. If you’re winning, people get comfortable and you’ve got to continue pressing that... From that point of view, it goes hand in hand. If you’re losing, you definitely need [leadership] and when you’re winning, you especially need it because you need to keep everybody focused.”

On Week 3 of the preseason and the New York Jets

Collins expects the Giants’ starting defense “to play about three quarters” against the New York Jets on Friday night. And he’s hoping it will give a chance for his side of the ball—which is still adapting to new defensive coordinator James Bettcher’s system—to work out any remaining kinks. Collins is “excited about almost getting a whole game in and making sure we stay on the same page as a defense and making sure we don’t have any mental errors out there... just because it’s a new defense. We want to make sure we get everything correct, be sound, be prepared and always playing fast.”

He’s also “excited” about going up against rookie Jets quarterback Sam Darnold, who he believes will “do a great job at the Jets,” but nonetheless noted that on Friday Darnold will be “playing against a good defense and we’re going to have fun with it.”

On pre-snap movement

Collins is enjoying that Bettcher is allowing him to move around before the snap this year, particularly that, “guys key on me. Offensive guys, especially coordinators and quarterbacks, I see them eyeing me all the time, saying ‘21’ or stuff like that.” The goal is “to move in and out of the box, trying not to give them a clean read on where we’re coming from and stuff like that, or give them an idea of what kind of defense we are in.”

This isn’t a decree from Bettcher, however; it’s more that Collins does it, succeeds at it and Bettcher sees no need to tell him otherwise. “They kind of give me the freedom to [move around],” said Collins. “They don’t ask me to do it. They know I know I can get to my position wherever I’m at on the field and do a good job at it.”