New York Giants: Antoine Bethea is becoming everything the Giants need him to be

The New York Giants need to extract value from Antoine Bethea.

A veteran, a leader, a teacher, a producer…all of these things ultimately make up New York Giants safety Antoine Bethea, or at least we hope they do.

General manager Dave Gettleman brought in another veteran with experience in defensive coordinator James Bettcher’s defense this offseason. The installment of these players will help the younger options adapt to the scheme and the play-style in the NFL. Rookies like DeAndre Baker, Julian Love, Corey Ballentine and more will all benefit from having guys like Bethea on the field and in the locker room.

The one player that I think will seriously gain is Jabrill Peppers, who was acquired in the trade that sent Odell Beckham Jr. to the Cleveland Browns. With the level of athleticism and skill Peppers contains, there’s no question he should be a Pro Bowl-level player, and Bethea might be able to help him get there.

Aside from Bethea and Peppers, the Giants also have Special Teams phenom Michael Thomas, a productive player that makes his money on the punt team. Coming off a Pro Bowl appearance in 2018, Thomas knows what it takes to be the best at a specific position.

With so many new faces in the secondary, Thomas surely can’t help teach them all, which is why he’s excited to have Bethea join the group (Giants.com):

“With us bringing in Bethea, that brings a whole lot of leadership in the room,” Thomas said. “I’m going into Year 8, but I’m still learning from him. I have a long way to catch him going into Year 14. He’s a general out there. He’s vocal. When he speaks, everybody listens.”

The second-year Giant also praised Peppers for his diversity:

“He played linebacker in college, but he’s probably one of the fastest guys in the room with a track background,” Thomas said. “He played at a big-time school (Michigan) and was a first-round pick. That’s a guy right there who can step in from Day 1 and knows he can play any position on the field, regardless of the secondary or the front seven.

In Jabrill’s rookie season, the Browns played him at free safety, well out of his natural spot. He struggled but gained essential skills that will now transfer over the Giants and the way they plan to utilize him. Seeing a jump of 22 combines tackles from year 1-to-2 is a significant difference (Sports Reference). Hopefully, Bethea, who racked up 121 combined tackles last season, will help elevate his game.

The influence of veteran experience can’t be overblown.

The New York Giants know what Jabrill Peppers can become

New York Giants, Jabrill Peppers

After being badly misused with the Cleveland Browns to start his career, Jabrill Peppers is now preparing to take his game to the next level with his hometown team, the New York Giants.

With Cleveland, he was primarily used as a free safety, a position he’s capable of playing, but not at a very high level. He ranked as one of the worst free safeties in the NFL during his rookie season, but he learned new skills that will ultimately help him succeed in the future.

What does Jabrill Peppers bring to the New York Giants?

The diversity he brings to the defense will hopefully replace Landon Collins…at least that’s the hope. The influence Collins brought to the team isn’t easy to replicate — his efficiency in the run game and tenacity in all other facets. His primary weakness, though, was in coverage.

Peppers is more refined in that category and will have more of an impact against tight ends and running backs coming out of the backfield. Defensive coordinator James Bettcher refers to Peppers as his “Swiss Army Knife,” a player that can move around and play in different areas with quality.

On one play he can line up as a slot corner, the next as a box safety, and free safety…not to mention his proficiency as a kick returner. There’s so much to like about the young defender, especially when you look at his progression over the past two years.

In 2017, he recorded just 57 combined tackles and zero quarterback hits. One year later, he earned 79 combined tackles and four QB hits. That’s a good sign, improvement, and development. The fact of the matter is, Peppers is still growing, which is why veteran safety Antoine Bethea will play a role in the success he sees with Big Blue.

There’s plenty left to learn on his end, and the way Bettcher intends to utilize him should help him reach his full potential.

New York Giants: How Antoine Bethea Will Be A Great Mentor For Jabrill Peppers

New York Giants, Antoine Bethea, Jabrill Peppers

The New York Giants made it a point to revamp their secondary in 2019. Their secondary was poor in 2018, allowing 252.8 passing yards per game (ranked 23rd in the NFL).

The Giants’ safety position was heavily disappointing in 2018. Big Blue started safety Curtis Riley in all 16 games, despite him being one of the worst-graded safeties in the NFL. He posted a 58.1 overall Pro Football Focus grade which ranked 79th in the league at his position. Riley missed a position-high 23 tackles in 2018.

Fortunately, Dave Gettleman and the Giants have upgraded their safety position. They let Landon Collins walk in free agency to avoid paying him a record-breaking contract, but they traded for a super talented, young safety (Jabrill Peppers) to replace Landon Collins.

Opposite of Jabrill Peppers, the Giants signed veteran safety Antoine Bethea. Bethea will mentor Jabrill Peppers for the foreseeable future, using his 13 years of experience to teach the 3rd year safety.

Why Bethea Will Be An Excellent Mentor:

Antoine Bethea signed with the New York Giants to provide consistency and stability to the backend. Bethea has been in the league for 13 years. He is now 34 years old, but still highly efficient.

In 2018, Antoine Bethea totaled an impressive 121 tackles, 4 passes defended, 3 sacks, and 1 forced fumble. Bethea played as a strong safety for the majority of his career, but he converted to free safety in 2018. Antoine Bethea will play free safety with the New York Giants.

This will give Jabrill Peppers the opportunity to play strong safety with the Giants. Peppers is primed for a breakout season with Big Blue in 2019. He flashed his potential in 2018 after improving his tackle total to 79 and his PFF grade to 77.6 (19th in the league).

Peppers is a truly versatile, do-it-all safety. Fortunately for Peppers, Antoine Bethea was once a swiss-army-knife on the backend, too.

In 2007, Bethea was more of a pass-defending, speedy safety. He allowed just a 50.2 passer rating in coverage in 2007, logging 4 picks and 3 pass breakups in the process. Now, he is a run-defending, pass-rushing ace in the secondary.

In 2018, Bethea recorded 12 total pressures (six hurries, three hits, three sacks) across 42 pass-rush snaps. He was the most productive pass-rushing safety in the league last season.

https://twitter.com/CoyotesGlendale/status/1079506049894207488

Bethea’s evolution as a player over the past 13 years has been marvelous to watch. Antoine has adjusted his versatile game to a playing style that fits his age. Age has turned Bethea into a bit more of a one-dimensional player, but this his prior experiences will come in handy as he mentors Jabrill Peppers.

Antoine Bethea and Jabrill Peppers are already connecting. According to head coach Pat Shurmur, Peppers and Bethea are “working well together.” Both of these safeties have come up with highlight interceptions during spring practices. The tandem is looking sharp and ready to compete in 2019.

How the New York Giants have upgraded the secondary significantly

New York Giants cornerback, Grant Haley.

The New York Giants spent plenty of capital fixing up the secondary this offseason, bringing Jabrill Peppers, Antoine Bethea, DeAndre Baker, Julian Love, and Corey Ballentine.

Considering the unit only consisted of Janoris Jenkins, Grant Haley, and Sam Beal before the 2019 NFL Draft, it’s impressive how far the unit has come in such a short period of time. However, most of the players featured here haven’t played a snap in an NFL game, which is noted.

Aside from that fact, the talent added provides a reason for excitement. Baker is a first-round value pick, Love was a projected second-round talent that fell to the fourth, and Ballentine was projected to go in the fourth and fell to the sixth. Peppers was a former first-round selection that struggled at times with misuse in Cleveland, and Bethea is a seasoned veteran that has plenty of gas left in the tank.

As I said before, plenty of talent and reason for excitement. So far in OTAs, the secondary has completely locked down the offense, forcing Eli Manning to sail throws out of bounds and Daniel Jones to show his rookie jitters.

The Giants are very happy with Baker so far, stating:

“No one seems to get very open on DeAndre Baker,” John Schmeelk of Giants.com wrote. “The young outside cornerbacks are showing promise and ability, and their development will continue in training camp as they figure out how much contact they can get away with beyond five yards.”

Beal as well:

Shurmur stated that the third-round Supplemental Draft pick has looked good and is getting his sea legs under him. Julian Love scooped up a fumble from Elijah Penny on Tuesday and took it to the house for the virtual score.

I’m curious to see some of the position battles that will ensue between the cornerbacks this offseason.

New York Giants top corner position battles:

There are two specific battles that I’m very excited to watch — DeAndre Baker vs Sam Beal & Julian Love vs Grant Haley.

Some might not think Baker vs Beal is much of a battle, considering where Baker was drafted and the talent he faced at Georgia. However, Beal is feisty and has shown his abilities in a small sample size so far during OTAs. The competitive nature will bring the best out of both, which is exactly what the Giants want to happen.

Between Haley and Love, I believe the former will win the job simply based on experience. Love will be close behind and would be first in line if Haley looks replaceable.

New York Giants: Jabrill Peppers and Antoine Bethea Already Connecting

New York Giants cornerback, DeAndre Baker.

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.

 

 

New York Giants: Top News 5/29 – Antoine Bethea is the old man on the block

The New York Giants need to extract value from Antoine Bethea.

Good morning, New York Giants fans!

Another day, another dollar for the New York Giants, however, trusty steed Antoine Bethea has racked up 13 years worth of dollars. General manager Dave Gettleman brought in Bethea for his familiarity with James Bettcher’s system and his veteran leadership which will be used significantly this offseason.

With a secondary full of puppies, Bethea, the old dog, will help the youngsters get up to speed and find their way around an NFL defense. So far, DeAndre Baker looks the part in coverage, playing tight on his man and letting nothing by him. Jabrill Peppers, acquired from the Cleveland Browns in a trade that sent Olivier Vernon over, has paired very well with the former Cardinal.

Bethea racked up 121 combined tackles, four passes defended, and three sacks in 2018. I imagine Bettcher will utilize Bethea and Peppers in exciting and new blitz packages. Both are fierce players that can play multiple positions on the field, which will only help Bettcher disguise his blitzing schemes and find ways to get players in the backfield to disrupt the opposing quarterback.

With a lack of true defensive pass-rush specialists, finding creative ways to utilize other players will be a priority for the Giants’ defensive coordinator.

Nonetheless–

Giants top articles of the day:

John Schmeelk (Giants.com) – Sideline Notes: Giants OTA No. 4

Steve Serby (New York Post) – Giants only hope this is where Corey Ballentine heals from heartbreak

Paul Schwartz (New York Post) – Giants already extolling Jabrill Peppers’ loud leadership

Ed Valentine (Big Blue View) – Giants’ Saquon Barkley not worried about potentially increased workload

Alexander Wilson (Empire Sports Media) – New York Giants: Grading the offseason acquisitions

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Check out my Twitter page! You won’t regret it.

New York Giants: Solid Free Agent Safety Option Still Available

With the additions of Jabrill Peppers and Antoine Bethea, the New York Giants’ safety positions are in much better shape than they were at the beginning of the offseason. The New York Giants let their star safety, Landon Collins, walk away in free agency and were not left with many talents at the position.

However, general manager Dave Gettleman made it a point to fix the secondary this offseason. The Giants drafted three cornerbacks in the 2019 NFL Draft (four if you count Sam Beal). But they did not draft a safety.

Antoine Bethea is a solid veteran who fits defensive coordinator James Bettcher’s defense. Unfortunately, Bethea probably will not be around for too long, being that he is 34 years old. It would be wise of the Giants to add another young safety to the roster to pair with Peppers.

Luckily for the Giants, there is a solid free agent safety option still available:

Tre Boston Stats And Highlights

Free agent safety Tre Boston would be a solid addition to the Giants’ defense. Boston has been in the NFL for five seasons and has bounced around to three different teams. Most recently, Boston played for the Arizona Cardinals in 2018.

In his lone season with Arizona, Tre Boston was a solid defender against the run and the pass. He tallied up 79 combined tackles, 1 forced fumble, 3 interceptions, and 9 passes defended. No matter where Boston has played, he has been a solid safety.

Tre Boston was drafted by the Carolina Panthers in 2014. Dave Gettleman was the Panthers’ general manager at the time. This connection could lead the Giants to have some interest in Tre Boston.

Boston was not the full-time starter during his tenure with the Panthers. However, when he left the Panthers to play for the Chargers in 2016, Tre Boston showed what he could do as a full-time starter.

Boston starter 15 games for the Chargers in 2017. In that season, Boston was a true playmaker totaling 5 interceptions and 8 passes defended. He was again solid against the run with 79 combined tackles.

Tre Boston had two solid years of play with two different teams. This demonstrates his true young talent and his ability to handle adversity. At only 26 years old, if the Giants sign Tre Boston, they will be getting a dependable young safety to pair with Jabrill Peppers for the future.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUY83saY2LQ