While no one in the New York Giants organization was happy about how last season evolved, the pain of a 3-13 season was especially felt by safety Landon Collins.
Collins, who last year was coming off a Pro Bowl season, dealt with a painful high ankle sprain for a large chunk of the season, an injury he tried to fight through. While he had success doing so, his season and quest for a second-straight Pro Bowl were derailed by a broken arm suffered in the next to the last game of the season.
If that wasn’t bad enough, Collins was also embroiled in a dispute with teammate Eli Apple over the safety’s claims that he tried to help the cornerback navigate through some rough waters of his own. Apple eventually disputed Collins account of any discussions they may or may not have had, and Collins, in a radio interview days later, referred to Apple as a cancer without ever coming out and mentioning his teammate by name
The good news is that Collins’ injuries are all healed up as is any rift he might have had with Apple a while ago, and he is looking forward to starting sometime special with Apple and the rest of his teammates.
“We buried the hatchet a while ago. That’s my guy, that’s my brother. I’m always going to have his back and we know what we have to do,” he said.
“We know what kind of caliber player he is, we know what caliber player I am and we’re just trying to get to work and make this season go.”
Collins, Apple and the rest of the defense will likely continue to build a new bond over the next few weeks as they learn the scheme new defensive coordinator James Bettcher plans to install in a couple of weeks when the team holds its voluntary minicamp.
So far Collins is liking what he’s learned about the scheme.
“Today we went over two schemes and it’s perfect. While he was going over it, it was like I was in college again. It was back to what I knew like the back of my hand and it’s going to play fast because it’s very stern,” he said.
What makes the new defense so perfect?
“Just as in saying that it’s the rules are kind of out there, it’s very plain; it’s this way or no other way,” Collins explained.
“There is no second-guessing it and you can play faster that way without having the thought in your mind about second-guessing yourself about playing on the field.”
Like everyone else on the team, Collins, who also reviewed some old film from Bettcher’s days with the Cardinals, is waiting to find out exactly what his new role is going to be.
“I couldn’t tell you what my role is going to be—I just know coach said he’s going to have me all over the field, so that’s what I’m looking forward to,” he said.
The excitement of the new defense combined with the clean slate the coaches have promised the entire team have Collins feeling good about taking the next step with the defense, which is the team building process with both new and returning teammates, a process Collins said will come over time.
“Really just understand each other,” he said when asked how to achieve that balance. “Know everybody’s personalities, know what they like, where they come from, who they are and from that point on we just become brothers from that point on because everybody has a background, everybody has a life, so it’s just having that understanding between each other makes it a stronger bond.”
And hopefully a winning one as well.