Three Giants writers debate which plaers are primed for a breakout second half:
In a special bye-week edition of Cover 3, our writers talk about which Giants player will emerge for a breakout second half of the season.
This is a tough question since a number of younger players have already had a chance to show what they can do in the first half of the season. It's hard to argue that players like Evan Engram, Dalvin Tomlinson, Wayne Gallman and even Avery Moss haven't already emerged in one way shape or form. Aside from Davis Webb and Adam Bisnowaty, those are all the team's draft picks!
The better question is who will have a big second half, and to that I'll answer Dalvin Tomlinson. He has been around the ball and playing very good football even though he hasn't made the splash plays that people have noticed. I think in the second half of the year he'll get some tackles for losses and a sack or two that will make people notice his already impressive play.
I'm going with rookie defensive end Avery Moss. The fifth-round draft choice has played 29, 42, and 34 defensive snaps over the last weeks while Olivier Vernon has been banged up. He's coming off his best performance yet after forcing the fumble that Landon Collins scooped up to set up a Giants touchdown against the Seahawks. He also had a great tackle on the ensuing kickoff that pinned Seattle at its own 18. So he's carving out a role for himself, and it could expand down the stretch this season.
Defensive line coach Patrick Graham said last week that he likes the young player's explosiveness and violence with his hands. The only thing missing, he said, is experience. And there's only one way to fix that. Expect to see more of him in the rotation. "He knows that we're counting on him a lot now," Graham said. "He has to grow up in terms of a football player. I think he's pretty mature as a person and professional, but I'm looking forward to him getting an expanded role and playing more."
Photos of the 2017 rookie class from the first half of the season
I'm going to go with a name that doesn't get a great deal of recognition on defense but could be in line for a productive second half: Devon Kennard. The fourth-year linebacker has shown some flashes in the past but staying healthy has always been an issue. Kennard has a chance to play in all 16 games for the second straight season and through seven this year, he already has a sack, fumble recovery and a pass defensed to go along with 21 tackles. He's also coming off one of his best performances of the season against the Seahawks in which he matched a season-high with five tackles including a great open field stop on Seattle running back Tre Madden in the red zone, late in the first quarter, that helped the Giants keep the Seahawks out of the end zone.
Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo likes to move Kennard around to maximize his full skillset, and given some of the injuries on defense, I think Kennard will continue to have opportunities to get to the quarterback and makes plays in the open field. This is also a very important second half for him, personally, as he's set to be a free agent after this season. There's no better opportunity for Kennard to continue to show the coaching staff how he can contribute on defense in a variety of ways than in the final nine games of the season.