A couple weeks ago I lamented that the NY Giants Special Teams needs a boost in 2011. Well, rookie WR Jerrel Jernigan could be the answer to the Giants Special Teams woes. Checkout this highlight reel via Giants.com:
Many of these clips are kick and punt returns, something the NY Giants desperately need to be competive in 2011. As I’ve said many times before the 2010 Giants were one of only 3 teams to not score a touchdown via the return game — and ranked #30 overall in special teams. That’s pathetic, and regardless of the reasons why (Domenik Hixon out for season, Darius Reynaud stinks) the 2011 special teams needs a renewed spark.
Hixon says his knee is feeling great, but one never knows until training camp what’s actually available and ready for prime time. Jernigan coule be ready before any of the other Giants to take ownership in the return duties.
The Giants new website (looks great by the way) has been featuring their rookies with a breakdown about what each could bring to the table. Jernigan’s looks like he’s going to be an instrumental part of the 2011 roster in many capacities, especially if Steve Smith has a slow year recovering from injuries:
Strengths: Jernigan is a jack-of-all-trades who can help the Giants as a receiver, occasional runner and as a return man. He might even throw a pass on a gadget play. Jernigan is fast and elusive and appears to possess the big-play potential the Giants have craved for so many years.
How He Fits In: How about as well as the Giants’ two other products from Troy, Osi Umenyiora and Lawrence Tynes? Or other Troy players in the NFL, such as DeMarcus Ware (Dallas), Leodis McKelvin (Buffalo) and Sherrod Martin (Carolina)? Jernigan’s first opportunity to contribute will likely be on special teams. The Giants were 31st in the NFL in both punt and kickoff returns in 2010 and Jernigan has the potential to sharply increase those rankings. He’ll get a long look at receiver, where he’ll join returnees Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham. His playing time could be affected by the availability of Steve Smith, who had knee surgery last December and is a potential free agent.
I wish him luck and look forward to seeing him in person at Timex this summer.