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New York Giants’ Tom Quinn on Special Teams Futility: “It’s Mind Boggling”

November 15th, 2013 at 11:00 AM
By Billy Javed

The struggles of the New York Giants' special teams this season have been well documented. A closer look reveals failures all across the board in the special teams department. Damontre Moore’s block punt last week is the team’s first special teams highlight since week one of the preseason where the very same Damontre Moore blocked a punt against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

In terms of lowlights, the most recent belongs to Jerrel Jernigan, who fumbled the opening kickoff last week against the Oakland Raiders, setting up an Oakland touchdown. Special Teams Coordinator Tom Quinn was asked what went through his head after Jernigan’s “mind boggling” play.

“I’m wondering if my name is Murphy. It’s mind boggling,” explained Quinn. “The number one job of special teams is ball security. When they kick it off to us or punt it to us, we’ve got to give it to our offense and to have that happen it’s been a long time since I’ve seen that happen. That’s crazy. And then it bounces off his leg into their hands and they start running it back, so it was disappointing. We’ve got to be better at ball security, obviously.”

When asked if he would stay with Jernigan as the returner, Quinn noted that he would have reps on both punts and kickoffs. He later acknowledged that Michael Cox and Rueben Randle are the other two options.

The Giants have not had a quality kick returner since David Wilson took over the role last season. Prior to that the only two names that come to mind are Domenik Hixon and Ron Dixon.

The Giants are averaging just 21.1 yards per return on kickoffs, and 6.7 yards on punt returns. Additionally, the Giants longest punt return on the season is 14 yards; only the Houston Texans with a season long of 12 yards are worse. Randle’s reliable hands are most likely the only reason he is the punt returner as he has consistently shown the ability to gain five or occasionally 10 solid yards, but has never broken one longer than 14 yards. Though it is unlikely to see Tom Coughlin replace Randle on punt returns, Michael Cox could see work at kick returner. Cox is a strong and athletic back that is unlikely to take anything to the house, but can certainly help increase the kick return average with tough and smart running.

Unfortunately for the Giants, this would only solve half of the problem as their coverage unit has also struggled, despite playing better as of late. The Giants are allowing 27.1 yards per kick return, which is third worst in the NFL. The punt coverage is not any better, allowing an average of 19.2 yards per return, which is second worst in the NFL behind only the Washington Redskins. The Giants have also allowed a league worst three punt return touchdowns.

All of this coupled with an inconsistent Steve Weatherford and Josh Brown, the only strength of the Giants special teams looks to be Damontre Moore. Though Brown has performed better as of late, Quinn did share some thoughts on Weatherford.

“He over thought it. I try to impress on these guys that we’ve got to be the best wind kickers because you guys have been out on our practice field and it’s windy almost every day and so for us not to perform is disappointing. I told him and he is disappointed and he is frustrated. I think he over thought it and tried to make too many adjustments instead of just doing what we do in practice because we had wind last week and he had a good week of practice. He was frustrated with it and we are because he’s got to perform," Quinn said.

Whatever the issues may be, the Giants need to clean up their act on the special teams if they want to rally into the playoffs. The defense is having a tough enough time carrying the offense; added stress from special teams will not help the cause. Look for a more focused group from Tom Quinn against the Packers on Sunday.

Photo credit: John M Photography / Foter.com / CC BY-ND

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Tags: Damontre Moore, David Wilson, Domenik Hixon, Football, Jerrel Jernigan, Josh Brown, Michael Cox, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Rueben Randle, Steve Weatherford, Tom Coughlin, Tom Quinn

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12 Responses to “New York Giants’ Tom Quinn on Special Teams Futility: “It’s Mind Boggling””

  1.  fanfor55years says:

    Excellent article Billy.

    If Quinn is bewildered what are we supposed to think?

    That punt return average by opponents is scary. We should understand how great the defense has played after seeing that we are apparently giving up good field position to our opponents an awful lot. I think a lot of the problem is that Weatherford (whom I really like) is kicking way too many low kicks that allow for good returns. The ball just isn’t coming off his foot right this season. He has been SO good for us in the past that his lousy work this year is really bewildering. He needs to turn that around.

    I also think Coughlin may have to allow Quinn to select a small number of starters to add to the coverage teams. They have been truly pathetic.

    I also have to point out that DeOssie, who has a very limited number of responsibilities, has been awful this season. He has had some bad snaps (some VERY bad snaps) and he is regularly missing tackles in coverage. You cannot take up a roster spot if you don’t do the specialty things you’re on the team to do particularly well. If he doesn’t get consistently better it may be time to cut ties with him.

    •  JimStoll says:

      the deterioration of an always mediocre unit under Quinn has been astounding
      Add to that Weatherford’s mysterious problems and it really is just mind-boggling

      fumbled returns, long returns surrendered on both punts and KO’s

      snaps over the head

      botched short FGs

      really ugly

  2.  jerseyrich says:

    The special-ed teams.

  3.  kujo says:

    You know what’s “mind boggling,” Quinn?

    That fact that you aren’t on a breadline right now. I mean, you have SUCKSUCKSUCKED at your job for YEARS, and yet you go collect your paycheck from the New York Giants every 2 weeks. Sorta like David Diehl.

  4.  kujo says:

    Oh, and tip of the hat to FF55 for the “any idiot should have seen it” bit in the last thread. I’ve been saying that for YEARS–how anyone could have disagreed with me is astounding.

    Now, to be fair, JR went out and signed the best FA center available back in 2010 in David Baas. The problem is that he’s stunk out the joint (yes, that’s what you call it when you’re a) never healthy, and b) not really all that great when the moon is blue and you actually ARE healthy) for most of his tenure, and signed a contract which essentially grants him immunity this offseason.

    As with everything else on this site and in life, arguments are typically boiled down to their most basic (re: inaccurate) components by those who disagree with them. I’ve consistently pointed out that my contention isn’t that Reese has done *nothing* to address the OL, but rather the steps that he HAS taken just haven’t turned out all that well. His approach to this group in the draft is simple–identify some “athletic” types, draft ‘em low and rely on Pat Flaherty to “coach ‘em up” in 2 or 3 years. The problem is that of all the OL Reese has drafted, there are only 2 currently starting, and they were both taken in the 1st and 2nd round.

    So, yes, any idiot could have seen this coming. They should see that the paradigm for this group needs to change. Hopefully the selection of Pugh signals the beginning of this shift. Then once we divest ourselves of Baas, Snee, Diehl and Boothe, we will see whether or not Jerry Reese is capable of assembling a sustainable group at OL.

  5.  kujo says:

    Also, great article, Billy. Glad to have someone other than the Jen Rah-rah-shock and the Dougtard writing articles on here. Don’t think your work goes unnoticed.

  6.  jerseyrich says:

    The good news regarding 2014 cap is that we are at 107 mill, basically 18 mill under the assumed cap. The bad news is that the 107 mil only counts towards the 35 guys under contract for next year.

  7.  fanfor55years says:

    Beginning to look like Webster stole Reese blind with his contract. He can’t get on the field. On the other hand, we got to find out that McBride has some talent. Now if Hosley can get some play and show something, Corey may have done the team a favor by staying consistently injured.

    In regard to kujo’s and jerseyrich’s posts above, we are probably stuck with Baas in 2014 (for dead-money reasons) so the best shot at having a decent offensive line will be if somehow the guy can get and stay healthy and then play at the level he reached in only 3-4 games since he’s been here. The odds? Not good.

    And speaking of stealing money, how much does Quinn make? Yeah, he’s a small-time thief. But you want to look at Wall Street-level thievery, look no further than one Mr. Snee.

  8.  jerseyrich says:

    As far as snee goes, cutting him would save the Giants 7.25 mill which would basically put us just under 100 mill going into 2014, for 35 signed guys.
    We’ll save another 3.25 when we cut myers. Other than that, the only guys we can save real money on would be Eli and Rolle, who would both obviously have to be extended after they restructured.

    There is no current other Giant who would save us more than 2 mill if we cut them. The 3 biggest cap savings after the above would be Jenkins at 1.833 (don’t want to cut him), kiwi at 1.8 and baas at 1.775.

    Aside from dealing with this, we’d have to determine whether or not we can keep Nicks and Joseph who are obviously our 2 biggest FA’s. This doesn’t take into account guys like Tuck, Webster, Paterson and TT.

    We have lots of wiggle room, but Reese still has his work cut out for him.

  9.  jerseyrich says:

    BTW…who are Kris Adams (wr) and Allen Bradford (lb) who are on the Giants? Never really heard of either one.

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