One of the reasons why the Giants defense took major strides during the 2016 season was the play of safety Landon Collins.
Collins, a 2015 second-round pick, was among the best defensive players in the league last year and now the team is asking him to do even more. Safeties coach David Merritt said Wednesday that they will be asking Collins to do more than they ask of other players because they believe he can always be “in the running for a possible Player of the Year, constantly making Pro Bowls and things like that, being All-Pro.”
Merritt said Collins has to “stay hungry” in order for that to happen and set out some of the areas where Collins can improve.
“He has room to grow,” Merritt said, via Tom Rock of Newsday. “With this defense, and understanding not only his position but understanding how far he can cheat, how far he can take a disguise, that’s part of the growth that we’re talking about. He has to continue to learn this defense. … Understanding the pieces of the puzzle and where everyone else is around him on the field, that’s where he has to continue to grow.”
Merritt has been with the Giants for 13 years and cited Antrel Rolle as an example of someone who dropped off after having a big season in 2013 to illustrate the need for Collins to put in the work that will keep him among the top players in the league. If that happens in 2017, the Giants defense will have a leg up on at least matching last year’s performance.