EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –** Since the NFL instituted Player of the Week awards in 1984, no Giants rookie linebacker had received the honor, including future Pro Bowlers Carl Banks and Jessie Armstead. Today, Devon Kennard became the first when he was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in the victory last week in Tennessee.
"There have been some incredible linebackers to play for this organization," Kennard said. "So something like that, it was definitely special. But I know that I have a long way to go and a lot of things that I want to improve and continue to develop in my game. I'm just taking it one day at a time and am grateful for that accomplishment."
The fifth-round draft choice from USC had two sacks, a forced fumble and six tackles in the Giants' victory over the Titans. It was Kennard's second straight two-sack game. He and Jason Pierre-Paul (2010) are the only Giants rookies to have at least two sacks in back-to-back games. Three of Kennard's six tackles occurred behind the line of scrimmage.
"I think I played a good game, but there are always things (to improve)," Kennard said. "I'm very critical of myself and there are always things that I could have done better or things that could have gone even better. There is definitely still much room for improvement in my game."
Asked where he can improve, Kennard said, "Just everything – route recognition, understanding formations, just allowing myself to play faster and faster. That's all going to come with the more reps I get, the more comfortable I'm getting. I just want to continue to get better. I'm not in any way, shape or form satisfied."
Nor is Tom Coughlin, though he has been impressed with the young linebacker.
"Kennard has played very well," Coughlin said. "He has been a really outstanding player for us in the last few weeks. He has had a number of sacks, a number of hits on the quarterback and he has played well at the linebacker level, whether it is in coverage or whatever. He is a young man, for as long as you have been asking me, I have said that he loves to play. He is physical and he is one of those guys by just looking in his eyes that he wants to be on the field. … He's a young kid that's getting the chance to play and he's taken advantage of the opportunity."
Ryan Nassib is the scout-team quarterback, meaning he plays the opposing team's signal-caller in practice. This week the Giants host Washington and Redskins coach Jay Gruden has yet to decide whether Colt McCoy or Robert Griffin III will start. So who should Nassib emulate?
"That was the first thing I asked (the coaches)," Nassib said. "I think Colt and Griffin, they have similar games. So if either one of them play, which they were the two that played last week, I think the looks that we can give them will mirror both of them."
Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who will be a free agent after the season, said he wants to keep wearing a Giants uniform.
"If I can stay here, I would love to be a Giant for life," said JPP, who leads the team with 7.0 sacks. "Who knows how it is going to fall out? I don't know what the future has. Whatever I can do now to control my own destiny is going out and finishing these games and being healthy. That is what I can control."
- The Giants and Toyota, in partnership with the United States Marines, will hold their annual Toys for Tots holiday drive at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, when the Giants host the Washington Redskin. Fans are encouraged to bring new, unwrapped toys to any of the collection vehicles and volunteers located at each entrance to the stadium prior to the game. Uniformed Marine Corps Reserves will be on hand to assist in collecting these gifts.
All gifts collected during the drive will be donated to Toys for Tots, the premier community action program of the United States Marines. Over the last 50 years, the Marines have distributed over 272,000,000 toys to children across the country during the holiday season.
Since the late 1970's, the Giants have participated in this program and hosted an annual Toys for Tots drive, helping to bring the joy of Christmas to children across the tri-state area.
Get to know the Giants' opponent for their Week 15 matchup vs. Washington