New York Giants Injuries: Jabrill Peppers out and Julian Love questionable

New York Giants, Jabrill Peppers

The New York Giants have already been hit hard enough by injuries this season, but luck isn’t letting up on them. Jabrill Peppers has been questionable ever since his injury in the most recent loss, but after not participating on Friday practice he has been ruled out entirely.

The blow comes harder for the Giants considering the preseason injury to Xavier McKinney. With both the projected starting safeties from before the season sitting out, the team is in an awkward spot at the position going into a matchup with the Rams, who scored more than 30 points in each of their last two games.

Peppers isn’t the only player in the secondary that might miss time against the Rams. The secondary is pretty banged up in general and defensive back Julian Love may also be out. Love’s status is only questionable, but it doesn’t look good that he hasn’t been confirmed as healthy yet.

“We plan on having him practice. We’ll see how he’s moving around. He practiced well for us yesterday. We’ll see him out there today on the practice field,” Joe Judge said about Love before practice on Friday. But despite having limited participation in practice, nothing has been confirmed about Love being ready for Sunday’s game.

Love and Peppers are currently listed on ESPN’s depth chart as the starting safeties for the Giants. With potentially both of them out, it’s not a good outlook for the team. The Giants will have to get creative and experiment with the position, but even if they get an acceptable performance, it will be at the cost of taking talent away from the cornerback spot.

New York Giants: Jabrill Peppers missed practice, could still return Sunday

New York Giants, Jabrill Peppers

The New York Giants don’t need more long term injuries this season, but Jabrill Peppers still has a questionable injury status. The safety who was injured in the blowout loss on Sunday didn’t practice on Wednesday. But his condition isn’t bad enough that the staff have ruled him out for the next game. As of now, it’s a tossup whether Peppers will play or not.

Peppers has a low ankle sprain but the length that this injury puts someone out can vary. On the lower end of the spectrum it can see a player bounce back in a week, but on the higher end it may put someone out for several months. It depends on the severity of the injury, and the Giants haven’t revealed the specific situation for Peppers.

Still, the fact that Peppers hasn’t been officially ruled out tells us that there’s at least a chance of a comeback for the Rams game. With the Giants set to take on a 2-1 team that scored over 30 points in each of their last two appearances, there’s an incentive to get Peppers back on the field for this one.

Linebacker David Mayo was also absent in practice and Joe Judge was noncommittal when asked about his recovery.

“It’s not official yet right now. He’s with the trainers. We still have a couple days to get it. I don’t anticipate seeing him practicing today,” Judge said to the media on Wednesday.

With other players such as Saquon Barkley and Sterling Shepard already sitting out for varying lengths of time due to injury, the Giants will need as many healthy players as possible to have a chance at bouncing back this year. It remains to be seen if Mayo and Peppers will be healthy come Sunday.

Giants Injury News: Mayo Eligible to Return This Week

New York Giants, David Mayo

The New York Giants linebacking corps could get a boost this week as David Mayo (knee) becomes eligible to return to the active roster fro m injured reserve.

Mayo has been on IR since Sept. 6 after suffering a torn meniscus in his left knee during training camp. Under the new injury rules, players are eligible to return after three games and should the team choose to bring them back to practice, they have 21 days to activate them to the 53-man roster.

Head coach Judge said they could have a decision on Mayo as early as Tuesday.

Mayo played in all 16 games and started in the last 13 games replacing the injured Ryan Connelly. Mayo was second on the Giants with a career-high 80 tackles (50 solo), including two sacks.

“We’ll kind of look and see where that goes,” head coach Joe Judge said. “He’s with the trainers. I know he’s been working hard. I see him around the building. I don’t get a lot of time with him on the grass, but they say he’s working his butt off every day and improving on a daily basis. We have to look and see where he’s at. For us, it’s in his best interest to make sure that when we start that 21-day clock, that he’s in a position that he’s not going to have any setbacks that would take him past that 21-day clock. I want to make sure we do the right thing by him by not rushing him back before he’s fully ready, and that would keep him possibly off the field for the entire year. I want to make sure we go ahead and do right by him.”

Two other injuries to watch are safety Jabrill Peppers (ankle) and left tackle Andrew Thomas. Peppers turned his ankle on a special teams during a 49ers’ field goal attempt in the first quarter and did not return.

Thomas came out of the game during the final series and was replaced by another rookie, Matt Peart. Judge did not disclose if there was any physical issue with Thomas.

“I’d say with Andrew, you guys asked about him yesterday, he did finish the game,” Judge said. “There was nothing significant to really go over today with the trainers. Jabrill, I don’t have a timetable on him for anything. We’re going to evaluate him day to day. We’ll see where he is. He had that lower leg. They’re going through a couple more things with the doctor this afternoon, but it looks like it could go either way at this point right here.”

 

New York Giants: Jabrill Peppers’ injury diagnosis revealed

New York Giants, Jabrill Peppers

The New York Giants’ embarrassing loss to the San Francisco 49ers in week three was followed by some uncompromising injury news regarding starting strong safety Jabrill Peppers.

After falling backward on an extra point attempt, Peppers went down in severe pain, limping off the field a few minutes later. From the angle that was given, it looked like his ankle got caught underneath an opposing lineman, which could have resulted in something far worse than the actual diagnosis.

According to Ian Rappaport of NFL network, Peppers suffered a low ankle sprain, which is far better than the alternative. A high ankle sprain would’ve kept him out for a minimum of four weeks, but this injury should only last two weeks maximum before he can return. As Rapaport mentions, Julian Love filled the strong safety role last season when Peppers missed time with a hip injury.

However, new signing Logan Ryan could also fill that role, given his experience and size. I do believe that Love will slide into strong safety, given his experience last year, and Ryan will take over at free safety.

Nonetheless, the configurations are just semantics after a JV 49ers squad trampled over the Giants on their home turf, literally. By a score of 36-9, the Giants weren’t able to stop Nick Mullens and a team filled with reserves. That was more of a testament to their superior coaching and game plan. Creativity on offense and a more robust defense lead to a comfortable victory for the 49ers, and the Giants are now left to reevaluate everything they’ve done the past few months.

Of course, somebody needs to answer for the wrongdoings of this team in the talent department and game planning. Former head coach Pat Shurmur was the scapegoat in 2019, but general manager Dave Gettleman should be counting his final seconds with the Giants’ organization. Ownership doesn’t usually fire general managers midseason, but Gettleman is three years into his tenure, and the team has taken steps backward.

 

How could the New York Giants use Jabrill Peppers on offense?

New York Giants, Jabrill Peppers

The New York Giants are going to have to get creative in 2020 if they wish to walk away with a winning record. With one of the strongest schedules in the NFL, a young team with second-year quarterback Daniel Jones under center will have a tall task ahead of them.

Defensively, a majority of their units are inexperienced and have minimal chemistry with one another. Live-action will ultimately provide that cohesion, but I anticipate early struggles.

Nonetheless, head coach Joe Judge is keen on being creative and utilizing his players to their maximum potential. Safety Jabrill Peppers could be factored in, in multiple ways, mostly on special teams. While Peppers only returned four puns and one kickoff last year, his first two seasons in the NFL saw him return 55 punts and 33 kickoffs. I expect the Giants to utilize him in a more prevalent role as a return man this upcoming season.

New York Giants’ head coach Joe Judge is excited about the possibilities with Peppers:

“I think one thing specifically on Jabrill is the versatility he brings to you,” head coach Joe Judge said this week. “He’s a guy that obviously plays a large number of roles for us on defense. He’s also handled core roles on coverage units, he’s been a returner in the past. He’s a guy that loves football. Really what he is, he’s kind of that kid in the classroom who won’t sit still. He keeps wiggling. So, you have to keep him busy all the time, otherwise he gets disruptive.

Winning is the goal of any football team, and utilizing your best players to get the job done is a necessity.

“I’ll do whatever it takes to win,” Peppers said.

“Absolutely, absolutely. Definitely,” he sais when asked about being involved on offense.

Many NFL teams utilize players on both sides of the ball, and Peppers could be an attractive option in the wild cat. With his ability to make defenders miss and make explosive plays, giving him the ball could be a solid idea.

I wouldn’t anticipate Peppers making an appearance on offense unless it was a trick play, utilizing Saquon Barkley in the backfield and creating mismatches. They can both carry the ball at extremely high levels and make plays out of nothing. Judge prioritizes using players’ strengths and finding ways to unlock potential, and Peppers could easily find his way into their offensive scheme in some precarious way.

Notable two-way players:

-Adoree Jackson

-Devin Hester

-Mike Vrabel

-JJ Watt

-Donatri Poe

 

New York Giants’ Jabrill Peppers could have a crazy unique role in 2020

New York Giants, Jabrill Peppers

The New York Giants aren’t leaving any stone unturned with their roster. New head coach Joe Judge plans on extracting the best out of each player, even if that means playing them at positions you wouldn’t normally see. For example, Judge didn’t rule out the possibility of playing Jabrill Peppers on offense but was also adamant that he featured as a special teams return man.

Peppers is an interesting character, built on restlessness and proactivity:

“He’s the kid in the classroom who won’t sit still and keeps wiggling so you have to keep him busy all the time otherwise he gets disruptive,” Judge said. “His involvement in special teams a lot of times is just to make sure he stays out of the other coaches’ hair for about 10 minutes of each period.”

What is the point of having a special teams unit if you’re not going to use your best players on it?

When you have an elite punt returner like Jabrill Peppers on the roster, who can break a game in the blink of an eye, not utilizing him is malpractice. In his first two years in the NFL, peppers enjoyed 33 kick returns and 55 punt returns, totaling 1,197 yards.

Last year with the Giants, Peppers was used on only one kick return and four punts, subsequently getting injured against the Chicago Bears and missing the remainder of the season. On the play, he made an incredible return, putting the Giants in great field position. That is simply the risk you have to take if you want to be a winning football team.

“Specifically on using starters on special teams, I’m a firm believer in using the best players for every situation possible,” Judge said. “Hey look, I don’t care if you’re playing 60 plays on defense or 60 plays on offense. If we need you on a unit for special teams and that’s best for the team, then that’s where you can make an impact.”

Judge didn’t rule out the possibility of using Jabrill on offense as well. Depending on the situation and if his skill set can be utilized in some way, it is always a positive thing to have talented players readily available.

“I wouldn’t limit anything we do with Jabrill to be honest,” head coach Joe Judge said on Thursday. “If he can add something to our team, whether it is a situational play, whether it is as a full-time player in a certain area of the field, absolutely. Anyone who can help the team, I have no problem doing it.”

“Guys like Troy Brown who played both ways or Julian Edelman,” Judge said. “Jules played nickel on the defense in the last drive of the AFC Championship Game in 2011. Then he flipped over and played receiver on offense, he was a punt returner, he covered kicks. It’s kind of whatever it takes. One of the phrases we use with players all of the time is ‘the more you can do, the more valuable you are to the team.’”

The New York Giants have taken a new approach:

Joe mentions one specific thing here that holds a ton of value. When he says, “the more you do the, more valuable you are to the team,” he really means it. Any single player can have an effect on every unit, which only helps them stick around longer and cement themselves on the roster.

That has been the Giants‘ mantra this off-season as they cut Ryan Connelly and Corey Coleman in favor of others. Being able to feature on special teams at the very least is a necessity, and at any given moment, a starter should be able to fill a role they’re not accustomed to.

Do the New York Giants have a 3-headed monster on defense?

New York Giants, Xavier McKinney, Jabrill Peppers

What the New York Giants are trying to achieve on defense does not happen in one off-season. General manager Dave Gettleman instituted a full roster rebuild after the 2018 season, trading away Odell Beckham Jr. and allocating a ton of draft capital toward rebuilding the secondary.

While the rebuild hasn’t shown many positive signs, youth agendas don’t normally translate to wins in the NFL. However, going into the second year of the rebuild, improvement should be on the horizon.

A big part of the team’s mantra on defense is versatility and creativity. Hiring defensive coordinator Patrick Graham will guarantee a reliance on man coverage and a schemed pass rush.

The secondary remains the biggest concern, after starting cornerback DeAndre Baker was placed on the Commissioner’s Exempt List and reserve option Sam Beal opted out of the 2020 season. The safeties represent the unit with the most potential in the backfield, and head coach Joe Judge has high expectations for them on a weekly basis.

“Versatility’s a huge part of all of our systems – offense, defense and the kicking game,” Judge said. “Our defense is going to be multiple. That’s both by base scheme, it’s also going to be based by game plan, who the opponent is. You’re going to see four to six DBs on the field at certain times.

New York Giants’ three-headed monster:

1.) Xavier McKinney

When the New York Giants drafted Xavier McKinney with their second-round pick, nobody knew much about him. He was the number one rated safety on the board, but the Giants had a ton of other needs at the time. Nonetheless, he has a specific mold that allows him to transition from free to strong safety when called upon. He is fantastic in cover-1 defense and can move up to the line of scrimmage and play against the run. The biggest concern is tackling technique, but he understands his rookie season will be full of hiccups and developmental mistakes.

Nonetheless, his adaptation to the NFL has been more seamless than anticipated.

The former Alabama defender is familiar with the way head coach Joe Judge runs his team:

“When (coach Joe Judge) discussed some of his rules and how he wanted things to be handled and how we wanted us to be as a team, it was almost like a mirror version of how it was at Bama for me,” McKinney said. “As far as that, it was an easy adjustment for me. I’ve already been in this type of system. It wasn’t that hard of a transition.

According to Pro Football Focus, Xavier lined up as a strong safety on 323 snaps, free safety on 271, and slot corner on 227 in 2019 with the Crimson Tide.

Julian Love had a glowing review regarding McKinney:

“When Xavier was drafted, I just thought, ‘Wow, that’s great firepower for us,’ ” Love said. “I had heard about him, I know how he is as a person, as a player, how he prepares. I think that’s what we needed around here.”

2.) Jabrill Peppers

Jabrill Peppers had one of his best seasons in 2019, despite missing the final five games of the year with a hip injury. Making the permanent transition to strong safety has allowed him to play closer to the line of scrimmage and utilize his instincts to react.

A look at his stats (2017 & 2019 at SS):

2017 stats: 13 games — 58 combined tackles, 1 TFL, 0 QB hits, 3 PD, 0 FF, 1 INT

2019 stats: 11 games — 76 combined tackles, 5 TFL, 2 QB hits, 5 PD, 3 FF, 1 INT

He is better when aggressive then staying deep in the secondary as a ball hawk. I expect him to lock down opposing tight ends and provide coverage the Giants have lacked at the position in recent years.

“I see energy (in Peppers),” Head Coach Joe Judge told reporters last week. “You hear him before you see him. You know when he’s in the room. He’s a lively guy, he brings a lot of energy to the team, a lot of energy to the locker room. You can tell he’s a football guy. He loves ball. He flies around. You can tell if guys are on the field, whether it’s conditioning, whether it’s the limited version of practice we had this morning, you can tell football guys. He’s definitely a ball guy.”

3.) Julian Love

One player who has been standing out during padded practices is second-year defensive back, Julian Love. Despite playing predominantly cornerback at Notre Dame during college, he has made the transition to safety and has taken well to the position. The New York Giants are trying to utilize him as a utility player who can fill multiple roles and play based on matchups.

“There’s just a learning curve, so you’ve seen him improve every day,” coach Joe Judge said. “He’s been more vocal. That’s important in his role, being the signal-caller in the deep part of the field.

“He has the athletic ability that we’re going to play him in a different variety of spots based on the matchups. You see him play up in some man-coverage sometimes. We’re going to move him around as needed.”

Having a player like Love that can fill-in and start in specific scenarios is exciting. Pairing him with McKinney and Peppers should give the defense creativity but hasn’t been present for a long time. With a simpler and more fundamental style scheme under Graham, Love can maximize his talents and contribute to a team that desperately needs a semblance of improvement.

New York Giants: Jabrill Peppers might not play the role we all expect him to

New York Giants, Jabrill Peppers

Transitioning from a James Bettcher lead defense to a Patrick Graham scheme will be simpler than you think. Former New York Giants player Avery Moss stated that Bettcher’s defense was one of the most difficult he’s ever had to learn. However, playing for Miami last season, Graham’s is much more manageable and utilizes basic concepts at an elevated level.

The entire unit will be different in 2020, from the way they line up and who is being featured at specific positions. Players like rookie Xavier McKinney and safety Jabrill Peppers have the diversity to change positions and give different looks throughout the course of a game. New head coach Joe Judge believes Peppers can be used in multiple ways.

Jabrill Peppers’ trainer, Brian Walker, spoke to the NY Post several weeks ago, indicating that he could play cornerback in 2020. He compared his frame to the likes of Stephon Gilmore and Byron Jones — a lofty comparison but an interesting one, nonetheless. He specifically thinks, “cornerback could be Peppers’ best NFL position.”

“You could see him with a Gilmore — same shape, same body — where he could lock down a half [of the field],” Walker said. “This staff is used to having really good, really strong cornerbacks. Personally, I feel like he could make the jump like Jones. Both athletic guys. They just needed more time to develop in terms of technique.” – Brian Walker via the NY Post

How will the New York Giants deploy Jabrill Peppers?

“We’re going to give him a swing of the bat at a lot of things,’’ coach Joe Judge said. “We’re going to shake it out week by week. However our opponent matches us up, he’ll be ready to take on a different position for us.’’

The Giants will utilize Peppers depending on their matchups, whether opposing offenses are run-heavy or pass-heavy. Peppers has experience in coverage and stopping the run in the box. While we might expect him to play strong safety predominately with the Giants, he has the build and athleticism to change positions at any moment. That’s part of the unpredictability factor the Giants are trying to incorporate into their new defense.

Despite Peppers going down with a season-ending hip injury on a punt return, it seems the Giants haven’t ruled out using him in that way.

“In terms of his spot on the defense, I’m not trying to be evasive on this, but it’s going to be whatever we need him to do right there,’’ Judge said. “With his skill set, he’s going to factor into a lot of sub packages. Traditionally, you’ve seen him play a lot in the box in different schemes and roles. He has that body type that still fits that. But he’s going to have to be able to play the deep part of the field as well as the box for us.’’

Jabrill has experience at both free and strong safety, giving him the ability to play multiple positions. While he hasn’t earned any live snaps at cornerback, the Giants are desperately looking for a CB2, and it couldn’t hurt to try him out there during training camp. There’s a lot left to do before the first regular-season game on September 14, but I fully expect things to look much different in 2020.

New York Giants: 3 play-makers who could have great 2020 season’s

New York Giants, Sterling Shepard, Xavier McKinney, Evan Engram

Training camp is underway for the New York Giants and the veterans have taken the football field. With plenty of opt-outs across the league still expected, the Giants have only lost two players thus far –Nate Solder and Da’Mari Scott.

The current roster is a product of a complete overhaul, institutionalized by general manager Dave Gettleman. New head coach Joe Judge has certainly made his impact known early on in his career with the Giants, spending the fourth overall pick on a tackle, Andrew Thomas. Prior to this off-season, Gettleman had never spent a first-round selection let alone a top-five pick on an offensive lineman.

The Giants have struggled in recent years to put any sort of success together. Offensively in 2019, they ranked 18th of 32 in points for and 30th of 32 in points against. They allowed nearly 30 points per game, a number that must decrease moving forward.

Since both sides of the ball need to witness vast improvements, let’s take a look at some of the Giants’ playmakers and what to expect from them in 2020.

Three New York Giants players who could have big 2020 seasons:

1.) Jabrill Peppers

When the Giants originally traded Odell Beckham Jr., they didn’t anticipate Jabrill Peppers becoming a focal point on defense. Since joining Big Blue, he has left his mark.

Despite missing five games in 2019 with an injured hip, Peppers posted very similar stats to his 2018 campaign.

For comparison sake:

2018: 79 combined tackles, five tackles for a loss, four quarterback hits, 1.0 sacks, three fumble recoveries, five passes defended, 1 INT

2019: 76 combined tackles, five tackles for a loss, two quarterback hits, three forced fumbles, five passes defended, one INT, one TD

As you can see, he had a very similar year but posted three additional turnovers on defense. He took a significant step forward at strong safety with the Giants, and having leaned out and added more muscle mass, he looks to be in perfect shape. Considering his development last year, I fully expect him to take a step forward and produce at a high-level.

New York Giants: Could Jabrill Peppers Be The Team’s CB2?

New York Giants, Jabrill Peppers

The New York Giants might or might not have a vacancy at their second outside cornerback position. Second-year cornerback DeAndre Baker has found himself in quite a bit of legal trouble this offseason. Baker currently has eight felony chargers hanging overhead and has been placed on the NFL’s commissioner’s exempt list. He is not allowed to participate in the Giants’ training camp and, day by day, it looks less and less likely that we will see DeAndre play another game in a Giants uniform.

DeAndre Baker’s absence leaves a huge hole in the Giants’ secondary. New York signed James Bradberry this offseason as their primary outside cornerback. But the expectation was for DeAndre Baker to be the team’s second outside cornerback. If DeAndre is indeed done as a Giant, they will need to find someone else to play that position. There are numerous options on the roster to fill that role: Corey Ballentine, Julian Love, and Sam Beal. But the most intriguing option is the most unlikely.

Jabrill Peppers As CB2?

The Giants’ secondary has a trio of young, talented safeties: Julian Love, Xavier McKinney, and Jabrill Peppers. Last season, Jabrill Peppers was arguably the best player on the Giants’ defense. The hard-hitting strong safety was a playmaker for the team in the eleven games he played. But could Peppers undergo a position change this year and fill the Giants’ second cornerback position?

This is one of many topics that we discussed in this week’s episode of Fireside Giants. You can find all the links to watch or listen to this week’s episode HERE.

Preview:

In an interview with the NY Post last week, Jabrill Peppers’s trainer, Brian Walker, threw out the idea of Peppers playing cornerback in 2020. According to Ryan Dunleavy of the NY Post, Walker “thinks cornerback could be Peppers’ best NFL position.” Walker compared Peppers to the likes of Stephon Gilmore and Byron Jones:

“You could see him with a Gilmore — same shape, same body — where he could lock down a half [of the field],” Walker said. “This staff is used to having really good, really strong cornerbacks. Personally, I feel like he could make the jump like Jones. Both athletic guys. They just needed more time to develop in terms of technique.” – Brian Walker via the NY Post

Jabrill Peppers was excellent in run-support for the Giants last season. He totaled 76 combined tackles, 5 tackles for loss, and 3 forced fumbles in 11 games in 2019. Moving him to cornerback would diminish this facet of his game. But what if he could make that transition? Having a strong cornerback like Jabrill Peppers on the outside could be exactly what the Giants need.

Peppers has been a bit inconsistent in coverage throughout his career. However, Brian Walker also mentioned that Jabrill Peppers has improved his speed and athleticism this offseason:

“He looks like he did as a [New Jersey] state champion sprinter,” trainer Brian Walker told The Post. “Movement-wise, he looks free. He’s maintained that speed and strength, even though he is leaning up.” – Brian Walker via the NY Post

Jabrill Peppers is an ideal strong safety. But he might provide more value to the team if he can be an ideal outside cornerback. At the very least, the Giants should give Jabrill some reps at outside cornerback in training camp and see how he fares. Jabrill Peppers could be exactly what the Giants’ defense needs.