No, I’m talking about public safety, or the safety dance, or even a tackle in the end zone that results in two points. I’m talking about the safety position, and how I’m beginning to worry that the Giants are neglecting it.
Deon Grant played a huge role in the teams “Big Nickel” package. The Big Nickel looks something like this:
The 2nd back safety is cut off in the picture but you get the idea. You have the two linebackers and then a safety just behind them, over the slot. The Big Nickel, to be clear, was not a stroke of genius by PErry Fewell. It was done, primarily, to compensate for injuries in the Giants linebacking core. I believe that if Jon Goff was healthy, or if Greg Jones or Mark Herzlich were able to be more effective and healthy, they wouldn’t be using big nickel as much.
But Jon Goff is in Washington now, and newly acquired Keith Rivers is not a middle linebacker. Michael Boley could play MIKE, as could potentially Greg Jones or Mark Herzlich. There are options.
But let’s say none pan out. Who becomes that “third” safety? Antrel Role would play closer to the line, but does that mean Tyler Sash gets more playing time? Sash is a really good special teamer; I’m not sure if he’s a good safety. Even if the linebackers do pan out, depth is minimal. While I guess, theoretically, Terrell Thomas could play safety, the backup options behind Rolle and Phillips are Sash and UDFA Janzen Jackson. Not ideal.
The Giants largely ignored safety in the draft and free agency. Chris Horton is coming off injury and we cannot be sure if he’s ready or if he can contribute beyond special teams. There are some safeties still out there. O.J. Atogwe. Yeremiah Bell. Chris Crocker. Husain Abdullah. See this list for more.
The Giants clearly have more faith in Tyler Sash than I do. I see him as a great special teamer. Which is fine, you need those, but I don’t see him as a viable safety option. The Giants have a plan that we’re not privy to. But I would like to start seeing it in action.