Wing seeks to fly higher after 2016 success.
The New York Giants’ offense was bailed out several times by the defense last season, but special teams played their part as well.
Punter Brad Wing made facing the already daunting task of facing the Giants’ defense even harder as he forced opposing offenses to begin their drives deep within their own territory.
Wing’s prowess was especially on display during the Giants’ playoff push in December, when Wing earned back-to-back Special Teams Player of the Week Awards for his efforts in wins over Dallas and Detroit.
But Wing’s season ended on a grounded note, as he was not immune to the Giants’ struggles in their NFC Wild Card loss to the Green Bay Packers in January. The loss has haunted Wing, but it’s nothing Special Teams Coordinator Tom Quinn doesn’t think he can’t recover from.
“He just kept working. I mean he’s got a tremendous work ethic,” Quinn said when asked what worked for Wing last season.
“(We as a unit) tried to simplify it for him a little bit and he did. I think as his confidence grows and you could see the true ability come out, and he’s got a lot of ability. He’s very talented.”
Can Wing recover from the playoff loss?
Wing struggled to pin the Packers deep, his puts getting lost and in frozen Green Bay air. He averaged just under 40 yards per kick, situating the Packers inside their own 20 only twice.
Wing can be trusted, however, as his stats have improved year after year. You almost never want to see your punter on the field, as his prescience more often than not indicates a failed offensive possession. However the left-footed Wing often soothed the blow, dropping 28 punts inside the 20-yard-line (tied for 8th in the NFL in 2016).
Does Wing have a shot at achieving Giants franchise history this season?
Definitely. In his maiden year in New York, 2015, Wing downed 33 punts inside the 20, tying a Giants’ record set by Brad Maynard in 1997 and 1998.
Should the reports of his stronger leg and renewed sense of confidence and redemption be proven true this season, it’s possible he can shatter the mark held by Maynard since the 90’s.
There were times last season when calling Wing the Giants’ MVP was not an enormous stretch of the imagination. His kicks made opposing offenses uncomfortable and set the table for defensive heroics.
Wing’s final contributions may go unnoticed in the final box score–unless, of course, he tallies another fake punt “touchdown”–but as the Giants regretfully discovered in 2010, a punt can make or break a team.
More often that not, Wing’s antics have helped the Giants more than hurt them.