From one safety to another, Deon Grant loves what he sees from Landon Collins, the Giants’ second-year defender who is having a breakout season with four interceptions.
“He’s looking good. He’s looking like an All-Pro safety right now,” said Grant, a member of the Giants’ 2011 Super Bowl championship team.
Grant, who frequently visits with his former team and speaks regularly to Collins, said he is impressed by the second-year safety’s grasp of the defense.
“I think the main thing was, and it’s natural, because all of us go through it, he was trying to make every play instead of just going full speed and taking care of his job,” Grant said. “I think he has figured that out a lot earlier than a lot of other guys figure it out. It’s paying dividends.”
Is Collins one of the best safeties Grant has ever seen? “That’s a little too soon,” he said. “But at his age and just as far as how many years he’s been playing, yes, he’s one of the best young safeties.”
Grant said Collins has the benefit of quality coaching with the Giants, including defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and safeties coach Dave Merritt.
“He’s got a great coaching staff,” Grant said. “He’s got a guy like Dave [Merritt] that has had some great safeties come around. That’s worked out perfectly for him.”
Collins has consulted with Grant and former Giants safety Antrel Rolle, who also played for the 2011 Super Bowl team.
“ ’Trel and myself have conversations with Landon,” Grant said. “We realize that he has that mindset of being great, and it shows.”
The key is knowledge. While Collins admitted he struggled last year because he didn’t have a firm grasp of the defense, his understanding of Spagnuolo’s concepts allows him to play much faster.
“What helped me in my career is that I knew what everybody was doing,” Grant said. “Right now, Landon knows what everybody is doing, and it shows. He knows when to go over the top and when to undercut. That only can happen if you’re a student of the game.”