It is often said that the best offense is a good defense. But a team also needs a lift from its specialists.
“We have some people that we haven’t been able to see, and we have some guys that are dependable and have been with us,” Coughlin said on Friday. “We’ve got some unknowns, not necessarily unknowns, but we have some new guys that have entered into the picture as well.”
Giants.com examines the position:
NFL Experience (all with Tampa Bay): 23 PR (13 FC), 210 YDS (9.1 AVG); 30 KR, 617 YDS (20.6 AVG)
Notes: Parker, who was out of the NFL for all of 2013 after three seasons with the Buccaneers, was the primary punt returner for the Giants in the preseason, which included a 17-yard return in the finale against the Patriots. However, he also muffed a catch in that game but was able to recover the ball.
Coach’s Take: “What has happened with Preston Parker is he had a -yarder last night, which was a nice return,” Coughlin said. “He is a tough and courageous returner. There have been a couple of times when the ball security hasn’t been as good as I would like to have it. That is a consideration as well. There are different considerations.”
NFL Experience: 44 PR (39 FC), 345 YDS (7.8 AVG), 0 TD
Notes: With a career long of 32 yards, his 8.2 yards per attempt in 2013 ranked 18th in the NFL.
Coach’s Take: “We do know that Rueben Randle can handle that chore and fulfills the number one responsibility very well and that is catch the football,” Coughlin said. “We know that for a fact. We have seen that for an entire season. We know we have Rueben who can, under certain circumstances, whether it be backed up inside the 10, you can count on him to catch the football. People surround the returner and you will be safe with that.”
NFL Experience: 21 KR, 492 YDS (23.4 AVG), 0 TD
Notes: As a rookie in the 2011 postseason, Jernigan led the Giants with 5 kickoff returns for 115 yards with a long runback of 34 yards. In college, he returned 67 kickoffs for 1,580 yards (23.4-yard avg.) and 1 score, and ran back 29 punts for 372 yards (12.8-yard avg.) and a touchdown. He has also taken reps at punt return but has yet to record an attempt in a regular-season game.
Coach’s Take: “Jerrel Jernigan has been back there before,” Coughlin said. “He is a guy that has caught the ball at various times in his career.”
WR Odell Beckham Jr.
Punts: Yes (College)
Kickoffs: Yes (College)
NFL Experience: None (2014 first-round draft choice)
Notes: One of the most dynamic players in LSU history, he claimed the 2013 Hornung Award as college football’s most versatile player. He also earned first-team All-America honors as a junior in 2013 as a return specialist after leading the SEC and ranking No. 2 in the nation in all-purpose yards with a 178.1 average. His 4,118 all-purpose yards rank No. 5 in LSU history.
Coach’s Take: “Remember, we wanted Odell Beckham Jr. to be involved in the punt return game and we have not had the opportunity to put Odell in that position as of yet,” Tom Coughlin said. “I am expecting in the near future to be able to do that.”