The New York Giants have a cornerback problem that likely won’t go away until the offseason, when they have a chance to put some more focus into the area and evaluate whether or not the pair of Janoris Jenkins and DeAndre Baker is good enough to send out for the next season. It doesn’t look like they’re going to go into 2020 with the same lineup unless Jenkins improves and Baker shows a more dramatic jump from his first season’s play, which has gained him criticism both from the fans and from former Giants.
The team already has one lesser known option on the current roster, however, who has flown under the radar due to not getting much playing time during his opening season. That player is Notre Dame rookie Julian Love, who has found himself behind both Baker and Corey Ballentine in the rotation of rookie defensive backs. It’s also unclear just where Love is going to end up playing, either at cornerback or safety, but that versatility may help Love in the end as it makes it easier for the coaching staff to fit him into the lineup.
But starting this week, Love has seen action with the first team in practice, which might signal that something is going to change with his playing time on the actual field.
“I just want to hit the ground running as soon as I get my opportunity. I want to be the dependable guy the team needs. Selfishly, I think all of us want to be that guy who helps turn this thing around for us,” Love said to the New York Post when speaking about the subject of his playing time.
Love, however, acknowledged that watching from the sidelines may be a benefit. “It’s a blessing in disguise in a way. I’m very locked in on the sidelines. I can learn off that so I don’t go in and make the same mistake. Teams always are going to throw something new at you. How you handle situations is what I’m observing.”
DeAndre Baker hasn’t had the advantage of spending time learning on the bench and has suffered as a result, clearly not being ready to be a starting NFL corner – at least not on a roster like the ones the Giant have, where support from the rest of the secondary is a luxury and not something that can be depended upon.
Could Love benefit from his rival being thrown into a starting position and performing poorly because of it? It looks like it. Love has spent a longer time waiting to get in the game, but he may have avoided a pitfall by losing out to Baker early on.
“Since I was repping at so many positions, my base knowledge was set. Right now you are not seeing me take a lot of reps on defense. For the future, I have a good foundation,” Love added.
So don’t be surprised to see Love stepping in for Baker at cornerback, or stepping into the game at safety – it’s what he’s been training to do all season, even if the public hasn’t seen much of the results of that thanks to Love’s absence from games.