I’ve spent way too much time writing about how good the Cowboys have been this year, and as a Giants fan that has been torture. Today I’m going to take a break from talking about those assholes and write about the RED HOT New York Football Giants and their revitalized defensive unit led by second-year safety Landon Collins.
Collins fell to the Giants in the second-round of the 2015 NFL Draft, which seemed like a steal initially because many analysts viewed him as a first-round pick. Although he led the team in tackles last year with 112, Collins had his struggles in pass coverage, and couldn’t hold on to an interception to save his life (Example: the nightmare of last season’s Patriots game). Although Collins showed some promise, there was also a lot he had to improve on in his game.
Fast forward to the 2016 season. Collins showed up to training camp 12 pounds lighter after he stopped eating Oreos and worked on his ball skills during the offseason. It also helped that the Giants spent a boatload of money on defensive players to help improve a unit that finished dead last in the league last year. It looked as if things were going to start looking up for the young safety.
After winning their first two games, the Giants dropped three in a row, and all that money they spent on improving their defense was looking like a pretty terrible investment (except for Janoris Jenkins). The Giants got back on track with a gutsy win against the Ravens and then had to travel across the pond to play the Rams in one of those shitty London games. Little did I know, Landon Collins was about to have himself a coming out party.
I’m well aware that the Rams stink but playing a crappy team is a great way to get your defense back on track. In what was a pretty awful game, like every London game, Collins was tied for the team lead in tackles with eight, and also tacked on two interceptions, including a dazzling return for his first career touchdown. It may have been a win against the team with the worst offense in the NFL, but I’ll never apologize for a win, and neither will the Giants.
Since then, the G-Men have gone on to win two more games, including one against their division rival Philadelphia, and are currently in the midst of a four-game winning streak. In those two wins, Collins has added two more interceptions, and recorded 17 tackles. For those keeping score at home, the young safety has had an interception in three straight games to go along with 25 tackles, and won two consecutive NFC Defensive Player of the Week Awards. This is freakin’ awesome if you root for the Giants like I do.
Collins still needs to improve in the pass game, but defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has done a good job with not asking him to do too much in coverage and mostly keeps him in the box to take on the run. This was the player I expected to see when he was drafted out of Alabama, and boy, let me tell you it is SO AWESOME finally having a good safety on your team.
I don’t think Collins will or should win Defensive Player of the Year, but I think he at least deserves consideration. He’s the only player that leads his team in tackles, sacks (he’s tied but whatever), and interceptions; that’s incredible any way you look at it. He has helped improve their defense from 32nd to 15th and made them a top five defense against the run. That said, the award should and most likely will go to Von Miller, which I’m fine with because that guy is a f*cking monster, but I don’t think that Collins’ performance should be overlooked.
I don’t know if Collins will be able to keep putting up numbers like he has over the last four games, but it has been so fun to watch him this year. He’s been the catalyst of this defense during their four-game win streak, and it looks like they’re finally hitting their stride. Currently sitting at 6-3, the G-Men face the Browns and Bears over their next two weeks and have a great shot to improve to 8-3 on the season. For that to happen, they’ll have to avoid their typical Giants second half of the season collapse, and they’ll need Collins to keep playing as he has been all season. It’s a great time to be a Giants fan getting to watch young players like Collins, Odell Beckham Jr (lol at everyone that thought he was in for a down year after his first four games), and Sterling Shepard. Looking forward to the present and the future with this team.
P.S. Dallas, we’re coming for that ass.
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