In 2013 not many things went right for the New York Giants. They struggled in virtually every facet of the game right out of the gate, unable to gain traction at any point in the season. Special teams were a big concern, as the unproductive return games continually put the offense in tough positions to score. To alleviate this problem, the Giants signed Trindon Holliday to help jump start their return games.
Holliday has been an extremely productive return man for the past two seasons with the Houston Texans and Denver Broncos, scoring four touchdowns, two on kick returns and two on punts. He has totaled 752 yards on 80 punt return attempts, good for 9.4 yards per return, and 1,327 yards on 49 kick return attempts, good for an average of 27.1 per return. Both would greatly improve a Giants return game that averaged only 7.2 and 21.2 yards per return, respectively.
While Holliday can be very productive in the return games, he does not offer much help in any other facets of the game. He is listed as a wide receiver on the depth chart but has only two targets in his career in the passing game, both coming in 2012 with the Broncos. With being such a specialist, Holliday may find it hard to hold onto his roster spot.
He will have to earn his spot with the team, as the Giants have plenty of other options on the roster to return kickoffs and punts. Another free agency acquisition, Quintin Demps, was brought over in part because of his penchant for returning kicks. Demps is not the only defensive back who could factor into the return games, as Charles James is fighting for a spot and could sneak onto the roster if he can show he’s a capable option in the return game.
Another option is David Wilson, who was cleared to practice and will be a full participant in training camp. Wilson was electric in the kick return game as a rookie, and he could find his way back into that role with improved depth at the running back position. Wide receiver Rueben Randle has had previous experience returning punts, but with an increased role in the offense as the second receiver he will most likely not factor into it very much.
The wild card with Holliday’s roster spot is the first-round pick Odell Beckham Jr. Holliday was signed with the intent to be the Giants’ lead return man prior to the team selecting Beckham Jr., but with him on board now it clouds Holliday’s future with the team even more. With another WR around, especially one who can return kicks, Holliday seems to be being phased out.
Holliday will have every opportunity to earn his way onto the 53-man roster, but his outlook is not bright currently. With so many other options available to them, it is hard to imagine the Giants keeping a specialist like Holliday with other holes to fill on the roster. Holliday will have to prove himself in training camp, and finding a niche on offense would go a long way in improving his chances.