If there is such a thing as a “sophomore jinx,” don’t tell second-year safety Cooper Taylor about it.
Taylor, the Giants’ fifth-round pick last year, actually had a forgettable rookie campaign filled with injuries.
Because of that, he missed large chunks of training camp, a time that he told Inside Football is devoted to working on one’s technique and fundamentals: “This training camp has been really great for me to get back to the roots and focus on the foundation of football,” he said.
One of the biggest changes Taylor made to his offseason regimen is he paid closer attention to his post-workout recovery.
“I realized, from watching some of the veterans, that it wasn’t so much about what you do in the weight room, which is important, it’s about flexibility, different types of cold tubs, (and) compression booths,” he said.
In addition, Taylor hit the weight room and bulked up during the offseason.
“Cooper hopefully has the ability this year to break in and have the impact for us on special teams if he can stay healthy,” safeties coach David Merritt told Inside Football at the end of the mandatory minicamp this past spring.
"The sky’s the limit for this young man. He’s big, he’s strong, he’s fast, but again, Cooper is going to get his chance to shine on the field and in the preseason games, which is going to be really big."
So far in practice, Taylor, who last week received some snaps with the starting defense, has flashed some of that potential the coaches were hoping to see.
He’s not only playing with more confidence, he’s also shown nice sideline-to-sideline speed and has taken better angles toward stopping ball-carriers.
“I feel like I’m a completely different player from last year,” he told Inside Football for an article appearing last week. “Things are starting to slow down for me, but I still have a long way to go. I have a lot of things to work on, but I think with more time I’m here and the more I can show what I am able to do, it will become easier for me.”
Patricia Traina is the senior editor for Inside Football. All quotes and information obtained firsthand, unless otherwise noted. Follow me on Twitter, @Patricia_Traina.