Third year safety Xavier McKinney has taken on a larger role in the Giants defense heading into the 2022 season. McKinney has been the Giants play-caller during offseason workouts and training camp.

Defensive coordinator Wink Martindale linked his young safety up with Eric Weddle this offseason. Weddle, a six-time Pro Bowl selection and a member of the NFL’s 2010s All-Decade Team called plays for Martindale in Baltimore. The future Hall of Famer came out of retirement in December and was the defensive signal caller in the Super Bowl for the Los Angeles Rams.

Weddle is a great mentor for McKinney to learn from because of his veteran leadership, high football IQ and work ethic. The former Alabama safety is a rising star in the NFL, last season he registered 88 tackles, five interceptions and five pass breakups.

McKinney spoke earlier this week about disagreements with the previous Giants regime and the difference he’s seen under new head coach Brian Daboll.

“I think a lot of times we weren’t seeing eye to eye on certain things,” McKinney said. “Last year, my first three or four games, I was barely playing. There were some games where I didn’t even play the whole first half. I think people forget that, too. It was a lot of different things, we had our disagreements time to time. I’m happy with our new staff, man, I’m happy with what they’re doing with us and how they’re communicating with us.”

“They’ve done a great job of taking care of us. Dabes (Brian Daboll) has done a great job of communicating with us. Some coaches, they’ll ask you like, ‘Are you good?’ And then you say, ‘Nah, not really,’ and then we’ll do the same thing. So all right, why did you ask me if you weren’t gonna change anything? So like with him, he’ll ask, and he’ll actually stand true to that. When you give everybody your word and you actually live by it, that means a whole lot more when you don’t.”

McKinney has continued to grow each of his first two seasons in the league and is primed to take that next step in 2022.

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