If you’re going to have a good defense in the NFL these days, you better have a stud safety. That’s what the New York Giants have in second-year player Xavier McKinney, so their defense is starting on solid footing under new coordinator Wink Martindale.
The Alabama standout who fell the Giants in Round 2 of the 2021 NFL draft missed the first half of his rookie season with a fractured bone in his foot. He didn’t play his first NFL down until November.
That’s ancient history. This summer, McKinney is the centerpiece of the Giants’ defense. He is charged with wearing the headset and will be calling the defensive signals.
On Friday afternoon, the Giants held their annual Fan Fest, where fans attend a live scrimmage inside at MetLife Stadium. It would be the first time McKinney would be wearing the headset in front of a crowd. He didn’t foresee a problem.
“No, I see it as the same,” McKinney told reporters before the scrimmage.
“Obviously, we’re going to have some people in the stands but, it’s just kind of another practice to be able to communicate the calls and do what I have to do to make sure we execute on defense. Like I said it’s going to be fun, I’m looking forward to it, everybody else is too, we’re just ready for that time.”
McKinney believes the Giants’ defense will be ‘very effective’ this season as Martindale allows them to ‘fly around’ and make plays.
“We’ve got a lot of playmakers on our defense, a lot of guys that can do a lot of things very well,” he said. “We’ve got a great defensive coordinator calling the calls so, it’s going to be fun, you’re going to see a lot of guys flying around, a lot of guys making plays and getting after the ball. That’s something we pride ourselves on as a defense, so it’s going to be fun. We’re still working, we’re still getting better and improving, but you know we’re going to have a lot of fun with it.”