It took 12 games for Kerry Wynn to appear in his first National Football League game, but on Friday August 14, he posted a team-high six tackles in the Giants’ preseason opener against the Cincinnatti Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium.
The Giants organization released its first preseason depth chart on Monday , Aug 10 and Wynn was listed as the starter at left defensive end.
He’s expected to join veterans Robert Ayers Jr., Cullen Jenkins and Johnathan Hankins as the focal point of new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnulo’s 4-3 scheme.
“Camp has been going well,” Wynn said in a phone interview. “I’ve been super busy, but trying to make the days count instead of counting the days. My main focus in this camp is just to master the playbook and progress every day. I’m just trying to stay focused on the fundamentals and little things, like footwork, because that’s a big part of me playing well.”
Wynn registered 17 tackles, including 13 solo stops, as well as an interception and a sack in five games as a reserve last season.
He raised the eyebrows of his defensive coaches during a 24-13 victory over the Washington Redskins on Dec. 13, 2014. The former University of Richmond standout had seven tackles in his first home game.
In June, Wynn was told he would see an expanded role this year as a third-down specialist in Spagnulo’s NASCAR package, which features four pass rushers on the defensive line.
Plans changed on July 4 when Jason Pierre-Paul, the Giants’ top pass rusher suffered a serious hand injury in a fireworks accident. The All-Pro defensive end, who was designated as the team’s franchise player, was expected to sign a one-year contract prior to the accident.
Wynn and his teammates have taken advantage of the additional reps in practice. He has seen a lot of reps with the first-team during the first two weeks of training camp and has really left an impression on defensive line coach Robert Nunn.
“We’ve got a good group of defensive ends that have come in here with the right state of mind,” Nunn said in a recent interview on Giants.com. “I really feel good about the group and we’re going to keep building every day and stacking the success.”
The Giants defensive line coach said one of the biggest success stories has been Wynn.
“In certain areas, (all of the defensive ends) have jumped out,” he said. “Kerry Wynn, when he got his opportunity, he made the most of it as far as production,” Nunn said. “When the pads come on, he’s a different player than when the pads are not on, and I’ve coached players like that. He’s a strong, young player.”
Wynn spent most of Monday traveling with the team and in meetings in preparation for Friday’s preseason contest with the Bengals.
The former LCHS product admitted that he received quite a few calls and texts from family and friends after the Giants’ depth chart was announced.
Being named a starter was good, he said. But realizes there’s still a lot of work to be done before the season opener on Sept. 13 in Dallas.
“That’s not something I’m worried or really focusing on,” he said. “Whether I’m a starter or second string, I’m just trying to play to the best of my abilities and make sure when I’m on the field, I’m doing everything in my power to help the Giants win.”