When Quintin Demps signed with the Giants, it seemed like his immediate impact would be on special teams. The Giants were looking to boost their kickoff return game and Demps gave them speed and experience at the position (plus an in-person audition from when he returned a punt for a touchdown against the Giants in Kansas City last year). That he played safety was kind of an afterthought.
Now, it may be the most important thing Demps brings to the team.
With the suspension and release of Will Hill, Demps is the most likely player to slide into the three-safety package the Giants like to use. Plus, he’ll probably be the top backup for a starting job with Stevie Brown coming off ACL surgery. Those were supposed to be Hill’s jobs.
“Obviously with him gone I bump up,” Demps said. “We’re just all trying to come together and get on one accord right now.”
A lot of teams employ a three-safety look, usually in dime packages, but the Giants do it a lot more often and little differently than most. They typically bring a safety into the box to play a linebacker position, a role originated with Deon Grant in the 2011 season. The Giants still call it the Deon Grant role.
“Anytime I can get on the field more, it’s a good look,” Demps said when asked to assess the Giants’ scheme. “I like it a lot.”
Demps said he’s not sure where he’d fit into that triangle just yet.
“We’re all learning each other’s strengths and weaknesses,” he said. “We’ll see how that progresses.”
He did say that he is developing a quick chemistry with Brown and Antrel Rolle, the starters.
“We’re all veterans so we know football at the end of the day,” Demps said.
Other players are competing with Demps. The Giants like what they have seen from second-year player Cooper Taylor this spring. Tom Coughlin commented today on Taylor’s size. “You can see that he’s a much bigger human being right now,” Coughlin said. “He’s worked hard in the offseason, he’s stronger, he’s bigger, he’s in his second go-around so he has an excellent opportunity to contribute in a lot of ways.” They also drafted Nat Behre, a safety from San Diego State University who played the same position that Deon Grant played with the Giants, a hybrid safety/linebacker. The Giants may also rely more on traditional nickel personnel with Walter Thurmond in the box, using a cornerback as the hybrid and not a safety.
For now, though, Demps seems to be the front-runner for playing time when the Giants use three safeties. And while the circumstances of the position have changed with Hill’s departure, Demps’ goals have not.
“My focus was to come in and compete either way,” he said. “I still have the same goal, come in and compete and make everybody better and make myself better as well.”