A LOT of names come up when people start talking about the success of the New York Giants defence, but one that rarely gets mentioned is Brad Wing, a guy who is never on the field with the defence.
“Wingy” is the Giants’ punter. He has been good all year, and absolutely in the zone in recent weeks.
The 25-year-old Australian who played at Louisiana State University was named the NFC special teams player of the week after punting nine times last weekend for averages of 43.2 yards gross and 42.9 net.
Five of his kicks were downed inside the 20-yard line. Dallas gained three yards on three punt returns. For the season, Wing is ninth in the NFL with a 46.5 gross average, and 10th with a 41-yard net.
“A lot of it is rhythm and timing,” Wing said of his punting. “It’s getting into a zone and getting into a groove. It’s always a little tougher to get into that zone in these colder months and we are doing a good job of that.”
Wing is quick to point out his success is more than him. It’s Zak DeOssie making the snaps. It’s Dwayne Harris covering his punts, including two that he downed at the Cowboys 3-yard line, the last on Dallas’ final drive in the 10-7 win.
Statistically, Wing is averaging 1.5 yards more on his gross and more than two yards more on his net.
He doesn’t think that has anything to do with changes in his story. “It’s just the level of confidence has risen and being around these guys another year that just builds a relationship with these guys,” he said.
One thing that is obvious is that Wing has become more of a directional punter. He spent the off-season working on it, and few balls, if any, are kicked down the middle of the field.
“That punt is more like a change-up punt,” Wing said. “There is no real way you can dictate the bounce, exactly how you want it to go. That punt just makes it a little more difficult for the returner to catch it in games with rain or wind. That’s a punt where you are trying to steal a possession.”
Giants coach Ben McAdoo has started calling Wing a weapon.
“We have seen the talent over the last two years, even when he was with Pittsburgh,” DeOssie said. “He is coming into his own, realising how good he can be. He is executing on the field, doing a fantastic job.”
Wing says his only focus is punting well on Sunday against the Detroit Lions who, like the Giants, have a 9-4 record with three weeks left in the regular season.
“We have a big one this weekend,” Wing said. “They are hot.”