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New York Giants’ Return Specialists Must Shine in Order to Secure Roster Spots

August 2nd, 2014 at 3:00 PM
By Billy Javed

With training camp already underway and the preseason set to kickoff on Sunday, many New York Giants fans have begun making roster prediction already. While nothing is set in stone and a lot can change between now and the season opener against the Detroit Lions, certain positions are unique and may be a bit easier to figure out than others.

The Giants currently have a few options to field both kick and punt returns, but when it comes to making the team, such players are often made expendable when others can do the job or a need for depth is found elsewhere.

Unfortunately, punt and kick returning are two different skills. Fielding punts is far more difficult than kickoffs and therefore a good kick returner like Quintin Demps may not necessarily be a great punt returner. Coughlin’s emphasis on ball security is paramount and that is a major reason why Rueben Randle was often the Giants' punt returner in 2013. Not because he was breaking away for five yards after the catch, but because he had the hands and concentration to field the ball properly without risking a fumble or a drop.

Trindon Holliday was signed to be the type of punt returner that can not only field punts, but make dynamic plays after he does. Unfortunately, Holliday is a bit small to make an impact as a receiver outside of certain packages or designed plays so he would likely make the team as an all-purpose return man that would handle kickoffs as well. Quintin Demps however, is the better kick returner, but lesser punt returner. He is also a speedy third safety for the Giants that can actually be productive as a member of the secondary and both offensive and defensive special teams.

Unless the Giants find themselves in a desperate situation, both Demps and Holliday could make the team as the respective kick and punt returners.

The Giants would ideally like to use someone other than their number two receiver Rueben Randle fielding punts and David Wilson will likely never see special teams duties again after his most recent scare (if he even returns to the field at all). It will be up to Demps and Holliday to make the best of their opportunity starting this Sunday in the Hall of Fame Game.


Seeing your team play in the SuperBowl is priceless. Watching the SuperBowl live in the stands for $1 per week is beyond priceless. Find out how at, the future of Championship Tickets. Tags: David Wilson, Football, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Quintin Demps, Rueben Randle, Trindon Holliday

5 Responses to “New York Giants’ Return Specialists Must Shine in Order to Secure Roster Spots”

  1.  fanfor55years says:

    There are some other options out there though what you’ve described are the most likely. I hope they also consider James as a potential punt returner. Even Hosley could be considered down the road. Maybe one of the depth wide receivers could return kickoffs. We know Jernigan can do that.

    It would seem that Demps has value as that third safety UNLESS he gets made expendable by the play of Cooper Taylor and Nat Berhe, which would be great but is a bit unlikely. So you have to figure he has the best shot of all of these guys at a roster spot.

    While I am skeptical about Wilson’s return at all, if he is cleared I’m not sure why he couldn’t return kickoffs. If he’s cleared to run the ball I don’t think the marginal risk from returns is enough to matter. If they are worried about what could happen when he takes a kickoff then he probably shouldn’t be in uniform anyway.

    I really don’t see Holliday as a great option, simply because of his tendency to put the ball on the ground. Add to that the unlikelihood that he can be useful as a receiver (though the absence of Wilson might make him seem an attractive option in space, a bit like a Sproles role, it’s not clear that he can manage that).

  2.  fanfor55years says:

    So my good friend who is stupid enough to be a fanatic Eagles fan tells me that the word down there is that their defense is going to be innovative and tough because Kelly is such a genius that he is going to put a lot of safeties or semi-safeties in so they can “swarm” the field and make life very tough on quarterbacks.

    He’s talking about their starting 4-5 players who are safety-types and removing the appropriate number of linebackers.

    Seems to me that would be a great reason for us to keep a fullback and run the ball down that defense’s throat. If they’re subtracting two players who are 240-260 pounds and replacing them with two who are 190-200 pounds I like the chances of running against that lineup. I think we’re going to keep a fullback in any case (including if Wilson returns) but given that it sure looks like the Eagles are our competition for the division crown (the Cowboys and Redskins have such problems on defense that I don’t see how either wins eight games) I think we should tailor our roster to more easily beat them. If what my friend is saying comes to pass, I think our running backs would have a field day against that defense.

    •  nick86 says:

      Chip should stick to what he knows…Offense. The guy is a great play caller and his offense was suprisingly successful last year. I didn’t think his fast paced college attack would work as well as it did.

      Like you said any defense routinely sporting more than 2-3 safeties in their base packages is asking to have the ball rammed down their throat.

    •  Dirt says:

      Perry Fewell is all ears

  3.  Krow says:

    I love how Goodell is thinking of suspending Jerry … while people who punch out women get a lousy 2 games off.

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