The smile on the face of Darian Thompson was not a byproduct of anything he did in his first game in 11 months. The second-year safety was impressed, but not amazed, by the short, sweet work of his backfield partner, Landon Collins.
“He’s a different type of guy,’’ Thompson said, shaking his head. “Works extremely hard, kind of seems like he played a game last week. He didn’t miss a beat. That’s a guy he has been and a guy I believe he’ll continue to be.’’
As the Giants incorporate some new pieces into what can be a vice-grip defense, Collins’ ascension can sometimes be, if not overlooked, perhaps underappreciated. At this time last year, he was coming off a promising rookie season that offered few hints of the emergence that was about to hit the NFL. No defensive player had a better 2016 than Collins, who is not a heavy self-promoter, exuding confidence without thrusting himself into the limelight.
With Collins leading the charge Friday night, the Giants put on display some of what this latest edition of their defense can become in a preseason-opening 20-12 loss to the Steelers, completely stifling a facsimile Pittsburgh offense devoid of Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell.
Jay Bromley, vying for the starting right defensive tackle spot opened when Johnathan Hankins signed with the Colts, looks ready to deliver, and rookie Dalvin Tomlinson, the second-round pick from Alabama, is right there, challenging Bromley every step of the way. Second-year B.J. Goodson had a seamless debut as the starting middle linebacker. Thompson, in his first game since foot surgery, moved fluidly and once again offered a glimpse of the sort of safety tandem the Giants believe they have, ready to unleash on the rest of the league.
Nothing definitive can be gleaned from a defensive outing without Jason Pierre-Paul, who was held out, and only cameo appearances from Janoris Jenkins and Olivier Vernon (six snaps apiece) and Damon “Snacks”…