Giants rounding out LBs with Reggie Ragland, Carter Coughlin

An overhyped inside linebacker is a ceremony of summer season at Giants coaching camp. 

In 2019, Tae Davis stole a job away from returning starter B.J. Goodson — after which slipped quick sufficient to be minimize by Halloween. In 2020, Devante Downs burst onto the scene, however he progressively misplaced snaps and now’s a third-teamer behind two others within the highlight. 

High-motor, versatile second-year professional Carter Coughlin (sack, compelled fumble) and bodily, thick-bodied veteran Reggie Ragland (cross defended on a third-and-1) mixed for 9 tackles Saturday within the preseason opener against the Jets. Maybe there lastly is a recipe for achievement round tempered expectations as a result of each linebackers may fill specialised roles and be viable short-term harm fill-ins. 

“It’s awesome that they’re moving me around and allowing me to try out different things,” mentioned Coughlin, who was drafted as an out of doors linebacker in 2020 however moved to the within within the Giants’ 3-4 base protection. “It was a challenge, but the coaches and the other inside linebackers have been helping me a lot, and that allows me to play fast and pick up on different things.” 

Tae Crowder is penciled in because the starter subsequent to cemented co-captain Blake Martinez, however Coughlin may steal snaps from Crowder in pass-rushing conditions as a result of the Giants are impressed with his mixture of athleticism, energy and instincts. Coughlin had one sack as a rookie after 22.5 in 47 school video games for Minnesota. 

Reggie Ragland
Reggie Ragland
AP

“The inside is new to him, so there’s a lot of things that he’s experiencing for the first time, but I’d say he’s flashed positively throughout camp,” coach Joe Judge mentioned. “He’s one of the guys that we wanted to see how he responded to some different game situations — both on defense and the kicking game — and he was a positive for us.” 

Not a lot is new to Ragland, who has 38 begins in 58 profession video games with stops in Buffalo, Kansas City and Detroit. He starred at Alabama for Nick Saban, who’s on the identical Bill Belichick teaching tree as Judge, Giants defensive coordinator Patrick Graham and assistants Jeremy Pruitt and Kevin Sherrer. Ragland, who signed a one-year free-agent contract, dealt with the defensive headset with Martinez sidelined with an sickness towards the Jets. 

Carter Coughlin
Carter Coughlin
AP

“I knew this defense was pretty good last year and I just wanted to come in and keep making it better,” Ragland mentioned. “A lot of the verbiage I’ve known since college with the scheme. But anything you haven’t done in a while, you always have to keep refreshing your memory. I think I’m getting better every day, and that’s what I’m going to keep doing to put myself in the best position possible and help my teammates, too.” 

Sherrer’s message particularly sunk in with Coughlin. 

“He talks a lot about using our hands, especially when we have offensive linemen in space,” Coughlin mentioned. “When you’re playing outside linebacker, it’s all about hands. When you pass rush, it’s all about hands. So, I think that’s one of those tools that helps out with inside linebacker.” 

Ragland missed the primary week of coaching camp on the non-football harm checklist. He seems to be generously listed on the roster at 252 kilos. 

“I feel like I can always fit in this game because you’re always going to need somebody that can play the run and then drop in coverage,” Ragland mentioned. “The smaller the linebackers get, it seems the bigger the running backs get, like [Tennessee’s] Derrick Henry and Chris Carson in Seattle.” 

Surrounded by youth and veterans who’ve endured numerous shedding over the past 5 years with the Giants, Ragland brings credibility as a College Football Playoff nationwide champion and Super Bowl winner. 

“He’s got a lot of fire to him, and Reggie is fun to have around,” Judge mentioned. “He’s a real straight-shooter and he’ll tell you what’s on his mind, which is good to have around the building. He’s not afraid to have a tough conversation with you.” 

For as soon as, the “tough conversation” with the Giants might be learn how to finest deploy a number of linebackers as a substitute of forcing starters. 

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