Giants’ Thomas McGaughey praises Darnay Holmes’ special teams prowess

The New York Giants’ special teams has taken a huge step back this season and the pressure is on coordinator Thomas McGaughey to make lemonade out of the lemons he’s been left with.

The massive injury spate that has plagued the Giants this year has caused them to employ a slew of newer and inexperienced players on both offense and defense, which means on game day the special teams will be filled with players who haven’t played alongside one another for very long.

There have been some constants, however. The Giants’ coverage teams have been fairly solid despite the revolving door of players and the absence of veteran kicker Graham Gano.

Carter Coughlin and Cam Brown, two fourth-year linebackers, lead the team with seven special teams tackles apiece. Defensive backs Nick McCloud and Darnay Holmes are tied for second with six stops.

Holmes is also a contributor on defense in many sub packages. He is in the final year of his rookie contract but is making his mark as a versatile player with his play as the team’s gunner.

“Darnay has worked his tail off. Darnay is always one of the hardest working guys that we have and it’s starting to pay off for him,” McGaughey told reporters this week.

“When you look at our tackle chart, it’s Nick (McCloud), Darnay, Cam (Brown), Carter (Coughlin) and I think all of them have like seven tackles a piece, so all those guys are doing a really good job and Darnay, in particular, has really worked his tail off and he’s got a little momentum. The more plays you make, the more confidence you get, you go make more plays and he made a heck of a play the other night, so he’s getting better for sure.”

Since the Giants have beefed up their secondary in the past years, Holmes has seen his defensive snaps diminish. It was suggested that he is concentrating more on his special teams role these days as a result, that’s why’s flourishing.

“That’s part of it, definitely because he definitely stays after practice, he works on his angles to the ball and as guys are catching punts, he’ll work on different things but that happens,” McGaughey said. “I can remember 15 years ago when Corey Webster, there was a stretch in there during the season where he was a healthy scratch for like four weeks and then all of the sudden he starts playing gunner on the punt team and made a couple plays and it all kind of translated back over to defense and we ended up giving him like 20 million at the end of the year, so I mean it happens.

“That’s just part of guys’ maturation process and everybody is different. And Darnay has done a good job of being diligent and then taking advantage of the opportunities that he’s gotten.”

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