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Giants have options at safety next to Landon Collins

Posted Jun 27, 2017

Safety Andrew Adams started 13 games for the Giants in 2016 as an undrafted rookie.

When you have Batman, Robin is a bonus.

That is the Giants’ situation at safety right now. Landon Collins broke out with an All-Pro campaign in his second season while playing alongside undrafted rookie Andrew Adams, who was playing in place of Darian Thompson, the presumptive starter before injuries ended his year.

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Now that Thompson is on the mend, is he back to playing the role of sidekick?

“I’m going to be honest with you, you can sit here right now and say yes, but I can’t sit here and take away from what Andrew Adams has done,” safeties coach David Merritt said after the defense allowed a league-low 25 offensive touchdowns in 2016. “I think they’re all competing for a starting job. That second safety has been elusive for us. To have two guys that can actually step in there and actually hold down the position, hopefully we will find that solid piece this year.”

The offseason workout program, which included 10 OTAs and a three-day minicamp, was just the warmup. The real competition begins July 28, the first day of training camp.

“I think any guy out there with Landon right now will be an asset,” Merritt said. “With Landon’s skillset, we’re always going to try to constantly make sure that Landon is in a position where it’s going to be best suited for him. Is it suited for Darian Thompson to go down and play as a linebacker in the box? Maybe, maybe not, but we have to see him on the field and see what he can do.

“But right now, Landon’s skillset will, no matter who the safety is, it’s going to be a complement to his ability to be able to continue to roam around where the other guy can play a little more deep and play more of a centerfield. But Landon going back and playing centerfield a couple times and putting the other guy down is what you’re really looking for. If you can have two guys that can complement each other, go back and forth, that’s great. Either guy back there is going to be an added bonus for our defense.”

While Thompson has come a long way in his run fits, according to Merritt, he is still best suited for the pass. That comes as no surprise. At Boise State, Thompson broke the Mountain West's career interception record before the Giants drafted him in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Meanwhile, Adams, who went undrafted out of UConn, has gotten quicker.

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“One of the things I did at the end of the year is I’ve given all of the guys an evaluation,” Merritt said. “One of the things I talked to Andrew about was making sure that he worked on his quick-twitch movements. So that’s one thing that I’ve seen already – his transitional skills being able to stick his foot in the ground and transition from a break. He actually has worked on that, and he’s gotten better.”

And if it’s a centerfielder the Giants want, who’s better than a former baseball player?

“As safeties, you have to be vocal, you have to be confident, you’ve got to make calls. So I can do that back there, control the airways,” Adams said. “And I would say the biggest improvement I would need to do is work on my in-the-box play. I played a lot deep last year, so I want to get some reps with me playing in the box a little bit.

“I think playing in the middle of the field, playing deep, I kind of contribute that to when I was a baseball player. I played centerfield, so I was able to track down balls, see things, read things. I attribute my visualization to my centerfield [days] in baseball.”