Jabrill Peppers has large shoes to fill – the safety was largely traded for by the Giants because of the loss of Landon Collins to the Washington Redskins in free agency, and after moving from the smaller media market of Cleveland to the intense New York City one, Peppers will be expected to make up for whatever production the Giants lose from Collins immediately. Peppers, of course, has had a good offseason – but the offseason doesn’t matter come the regular season, and the first real test for Peppers will be the Dallas Cowboys when the Giants take them on this Sunday.
There will be multiple threats for the new Giants safety to deal with. At the running back position is Ezekiel Elliot, a player that will surely compete again with Saquon Barkley for the rushing title after signing a deal and avoiding a contract holdout just before the start of the season.
Another player of note is Jason Witten, the well known and praised Cowboys tight end who will make his return to the field this season on a one year contract, against a Giants team that isn’t the best at containing the tight end position. Will that trend change with Peppers at safety instead of Landon Collins?
“Watching the film, seeing what routes he likes against certain coverages out of certain personnel, where he’s at on the field, and what he does from there. Really, just extensive film study,” Peppers said this week about his preparations to play against Witten. “Taking the challenge head on and going out there and competing at a very high level.”
“He knows what he’s doing, he knows how to get open [and] he’s been there forever. They have a guy who can get him the ball, and they have guys around him who can stretch the defense out and let him sit in those soft coverages. We are definitely going to take the challenge,” Peppers said further about Witten.
The Witten versus Peppers matchup will just be one of many for a secondary that looks all new after several changes from last season – will it perform better or worse? That will be seen on Sunday, but if the Giants want to win this game, the secondary is definitely one of the parts of the team that will have to show up big.