New York Giants moving toward benching Julian Love?

Alexander Wilson
New York Giants, Julian Love
Sep 27, 2020; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11) fights for yards after catch as New York Giants free safety Julian Love (20) and inside linebacker Blake Martinez (54) tackle during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

One of Patrick Graham’s best attributes is making adjustments to improve his unit. The New York Giants’ defense has been stellar through four weeks, despite an anomaly in week three against the San Francisco 49ers where the offense simply couldn’t stay on the field. A lopsided time of possession metric indicates that the defense was simply overwhelmed and broke toward the end of the third quarter.

Nonetheless, the defense still ranks 13th in overall points allowed and fifth in yards allowed per game. New defensive coordinator Patrick Graham is a major reason for their recent success, despite many going into the year, thinking it would be a weakness.

Graham has made several changes to his roster in recent weeks, including factoring out Devante Downs at linebacker, benching cornerback Corey Ballentine, and taking reps away from starting free safety Julian Love.

Love start of the season at free safety, with Antoine Bethea leaving the team in free agency after the 2019 season. Up to this point, he has played in 81% of defensive snaps, but that is quickly decreasing with the return of Adrian Colbert, according to North Jersey Media Group’s Zack Rosenblatt.

Colbert is a former San Francisco 49ers cornerback and also has experience with the Miami Dolphins. His experience in Graham’s scheme should help the unit moving forward.

The Giants made a strange move in week 4, though, scheming Julian Love out of their game-plan and inserting Adrien Colbert at free safety to help fill the void of Jabrill Peppers. Love only played in 17 of 60 total defensive snaps. Per PFF, Colbert finished the contest with a 76.4 tackling grade and played five snaps in the box.

“He’s a guy who comes to work every day, plays with a high motor,” Judge said. “I think he’s making some plays for us. He’s been flying around with high energy, he’s good for the defense out there, he’s good for the team just being a good team player.”

Colbert is likely to earn a majority of the reps on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys in week five. Colbert can sit back in the deep secondary and operate at his ideal position with Peppers slated to return to his normal role at strong safety.

In this scenario, Love will return to his utility-man role and fill needs as Graham sees fit.