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New York Giants offseason roster analysis: Previewing special teams

Graham Gano has a new number, and the Giants will have a new punter

New York Giants v Philadelphia Eagles
Graham Gano
Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

There is a great deal we don’t know about the New York Giants’ 2022 special teams units. The eventual roster is an unknown, so special teams are also largely unknown.

Let’s look, though, at what we do know to this point. Here are the three players who — right now — would occupy the primary specialist positions.

Placekicker — Graham Gano
Punter — Jamie Gillan
Long-snapper — Casey Kreiter

There is really one major question with this group. That is whether or not Gillan will actually open the season as the Giants’ punter. The ‘Scottish Hammer’ is a left-footed punter who punted in 44 games over nearly three full seasons for the Cleveland Browns before being released 12 games into the 2021 season.

Gillan signed a reserve/futures deal with the Giants after finishing last season on the Buffalo Bills’ practice squad.

Gillan was outstanding for Cleveland in 2019, with a 74.3 Pro Football Focus grade, a 42.3 yards per punt net average, 39.4 percent of his punts landing inside the opponents’ 20-yard line, only 31.7 percent of his punts being returned and a hang time of 4.53 seconds.

In 12 2021 games, Gillan had a 52.6 PFF grade, a 39.5 yards per punt net, had only 25 percent of his punts downed inside the 20-yard line, allowed 45.2 percent of his punts to be returned and had a hang time of just 4.22 seconds per punt.

Something, obviously, went awry for Gillan from 2019 to 2021. Can the Giants get him back to his 2019 form?

“He’s trying to figure it out, too. He’s a young punter. It’s not like this guy is like Graham (Gano) where he’s been around for years. He’s still trying to figure it out,” special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey said. “We’re working every day with him. He’s doing a good job of taking the coaching, and he’s very talented.

“He can do a lot of different things. Obviously, he was a rugby player, but Jamie can do a lot of different things. He’s a talented guy.”