The Giants' defense has been highlighted by the play of second-year safety Landon Collins, who, after a trying rookie season, has become a Pro Bowl talent.
Collins leads the Giants in tackles and is sixth overall in tackles in the NFL with 57. He is the leading tackler among all safeties this season. He also has two sacks and two interceptions. One of those interceptions against the Rams in London, was retuned spectacularly for a touchdown and could be up for the play of the year award.
"Still hearing about it. I'm ready to continue to keep making more plays," Collins said on Monday. "That's not just one thing I could do, one great thing I could do. I can do a lot more."
And he has been. The Giants repaired and bolstered their secondary this past offseason around Collins, who the club hoped would blossom this season. Collins has held up his end, but the partners they planned to pair with him have both been hurt. Rookie Darian Thompson has been out since Week 1 with a foot injury and Nat Berhe has missed several games with a concussion. Both should be cleared for duty soon.
The Giants needed a captain on defense coming into the season and chose veteran LB Jonathan Casillas, who has been an excellent choice, but Collins is coming along as the real leader as the season unfolds.
"I wouldn't say that," said Collins when asked if he felt this was his defense. "The only time I would say that is if I have the 'C' (captain) on my chest. Until then, it's not my defense."
We beg to differ. He's been all over the field. Teams game planning for the Giants have to take Collins into account now. He's a monster in the box and we've just seen what he can do when he gets his hands on the football and maintains possession.
The defense does need some improvements and the Alabama alum knows exactly where those improvements are needed. The Giants are allowing opponents to convert 43% of the time on third down.
"We're making it a key concept to get off the field on third downs," Collins said. "We're getting off the field, but we want to make it a point to get more 'three and outs.' Have their percentage be at least under 35 percent."
There has been a story circulating about Collins' former college coach, Nick Saban, being considered for the head coaching position of the Giants before this season. He doesn't think it would have come to pass.
"Last time I talked to coach Saban he said he loves his job. He loves where he is," said Collins. "He loves to teach. Make boys into men. He loves to be in the college atmosphere. I don't think he wants to come back to the NFL."
But can he imagined if it had happened...?
"I cannot. It's different," he said. "You are kids, and then you're messing with grown men. I don't know. He yells at us over there. A lot of men are going to yell back."
The second half of the season should be a banner one for this Giants secondarry which has performed above expectations even with several key injuries. Collins was asked how good this unit can be.
"Tremendous," he said. "We're trying to get in that top-10 bracket. After the Saints game, we went down because all our DB's were going down and not getting that same excitement back there. Now, we're getting them all back. It's going to be very exciting this week."
After last season's horrible showing, the Giants and their fans couldn't be happier.