New York Giants: Why Julian Love is the catalyst against the Los Angeles Rams

New York Giants, Julian Love

The New York Giants are gearing up to face off against the Los Angeles Rams in week four of the 2020 regular season. After three consecutive losses to open the year, the Giants are fighting for the first victory.

However, fight hasn’t been enough for a team that lacks schematic experience and veteran leadership. With new coaches and players scattered across the roster, it was always problematic entering the season. Enjoying success early on was a lofty expectation, but they have the talent to at least compete.

The New York Giants will be down one starting defense in week 4, most likely:

Entering the contest, the Giants predict they will be without starting strong safety Jabrill Peppers. Through three weeks, Peppers has been a focal point as a return-man and brought energy to the group.

He has tallied 10 combined tackles, and one pass defended. In fact, his season has started off poorly, allowing an 80% completion rate and missing 23.1% of his tackles. The Giants actually might be better off replacing him with an option like Julian Love, who has experience at strong safety from his rookie campaign in 2019.

It is also possible that defensive coordinator Patrick Graham alternates between Love and Logan Ryan, who can both play in the box and stop the run.

“The good thing about those guys is they both can tackle,” Graham said of Logan Ryan and Julian Love. “There’s a willingness to be involved in the run game. They can still be interchangeable to a certain degree. The great benefit of it is the man-to-man coverage skills. Now you’re working with something right there. You’re dealing with the Rams, where these guys are all over the place. Their shift motioning, here goes the missile motion, and stuff like that. Now you have guys, (and you say), ‘oh, he can play this coverage, he can play that coverage.’ You feel a little bit more comfortable if you’re going with all the man stuff. It gives you some more flexibility with stuff like that. Not saying we couldn’t have done that with Pep or other guys. You’re talking about true cornerback skills, that’s a positive right there.”

Losing Jabrill Peppers on Sunday will be significant, and not only because he won’t be on the field, but because he brings an energy to the unit that’s simply contagious.

“Honestly, he’s the energy guy,” defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence said. “He brings a lot of energy to the group, positivity, motor, things like that. Now you have to fill that void. Obviously, he’s an amazing player and we’d obviously love to have him play. But now it’s someone else’s time to take on that role and have that responsibility just to be that guy. That’s why you have second team or you have backup guys that can fill that role.”

While Pepper’s teammates believe he is a fantastic player, Jabrill has underwhelmed the season statistically. Shifting Love down to strong safety could be beneficial, as he is an aggressive player who does not shy away from stopping the run. An experienced veteran like Logan Ryan could also supplement the loss, so I feel quite confident the New York Giants will find a way to replace his production.
In addition, Graham makes an excellent point that both Love and Ryan are better coverage options. With the Rams utilizing Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods from the slot frequently, having coverage oriented safeties is a necessity.