The New York Giants brought in a slew of new players to help upgrade the secondary this offseason, two of which are Jabrill Peppers, formerly of the Cleveland Browns, and Antoine Bethea, coming from the Arizona Cardinals.
Peppers had an uneventful career in Cleveland, but he’s already showing he can be a playmaker for the Giants and defensive coordinator, James Bettcher. The diverse safety has the ability to play in coverage in the slot and against tight ends. He can also play the run and blitz the passer. Peppers is a true “Swiss Army Knife” type of player – do it all.
Bettcher will surely utilize him all over the field, something he couldn’t necessarily do with Landon Collins. Bethea, however, made the transition to free safety several seasons ago as age inevitably caught up with him. He’s familiar with Bettcher’s scheme and has shown promise as a free safety as of late.
Bethea racked up 121 combined tackles, four passes defended, three sacks, and one forced fumble in 2018. His abilities in coverage should present an upgrade over Curtis Riley, in addition to his veteran leadership which will be implemented o the rookies.
How have the defenders looked so far for the New York Giants?
So far during OTAs, the duo has shown chemistry and playmaking ability. In the first day of practice, Peppers secured an interception off a Sam Beal tipped pass, and in day 4 of practice, Bethea came up with a pick.
Coach Pat Shurmur stated after the practice:
“Antoine Bethea had an interception today. He’s communicating really well with [Jabrill] Peppers…you can see they’re in the right spots and we’re really pleased with where they’re at.”
“Peppers loves to play football, he’s very vocal, him and Bethea are working well together.”
Positioning is extremely important for safeties, as we saw last year with Riley who seemed to take the wrong angle on nearly every play. Pairing an elite athlete in Peppers with a savvy veteran like Bethea should present not only an upgrade but an exciting pair to enjoy over the course of the season.