Why New York Giants DB Julian Love will see a ton of playing time in 2021

New York Giants, Julian Love

The New York Giants are loaded with talent in the secondary. The unit features a possibly elite cornerback duo in James Bradberry and Adoree’ Jackson. It also features a sick trio of safeties on the back end, Jabrill Peppers, Logan Ryan, and Xavier McKinney. But this is not a top-heavy unit. Depth pieces, like Julian Love, also stand out on this roster.

Julian Love was once a starting safety on the Giants’ defense. But as the team improved and acquired more talent, Love’s starting status changed. Instead, the team now views Julian Love as a versatile depth piece that can fill in at multiple positions, primarily as a backup.

But the term “backup” should be used loosely when discussing Julian Love. The Giants’ third-year defensive back will see a ton of playing time in 2021.

Why Julian Love will see a ton of playing time

The New York Giants are known to run a lot of nickel under defensive coordinator Patrick Graham. This means they send an extra defensive back out on the field defensively. Usually, Julian Love is that extra defensive back.

Last year, Julian Love primarily played safety. But in college, Love was a cornerback. He made the transition to strong safety as a rookie before playing more free safety in his second season. The Giants even had Love play a little bit of slot and outside cornerback last year.

Julian Love has been taking snaps with the first-team defense at slot cornerback during training camp this year. The Giants clearly plan on moving Julian Love all over the field, using him in a versatile way. Peppers, Ryan, and McKinney will be your starting safeties. But Jabrill Peppers could play a lot of linebacker this season. This opens the door for Xavier McKinney at safety while also opening the door for Julian Love at nickel cornerback.

The Giants are bound to run plenty of “big nickel” this season, a defensive formation that features three safeties. That is when Love would play the “big nickel” role. The other two safeties in that formation would be Ryan and McKinney, while Peppers plays weakside linebacker. This formation allows the Giants to get all of their top defensive backs on the field at the same time, giving them a matchup advantage. If the Giants run this formation a lot, then Julian Love will see a ton of playing time in 2021.

The New York Giants’ secondary is loaded with talent entering the 2021 season

New York Giants, James Bradberry, logan ryan

The New York Giants defense was one of the league’s best in the 2020 season. Entering 2021, the Giants’ defense has only gotten better. The Giants defense allowed only 22.3 points per game last season, giving them a top-ten unit. Yet, New York still went into the offseason and added even more talent to their defense.

The Giants’ secondary was the strength of the team last year. Cornerback James Bradberry looked like a blanket on the field, consistently shutting down opposing receivers. New York also enjoyed a dynamic safety tandem of Jabrill Peppers and Logan Ryan. However, there were a couple of holes in the Giants’ secondary.

Opposite of Bradberry, New York had a revolving door at their second outside cornerback position. Corey Ballentine, Ryan Lewis, and ultimately Isaac Yiadom saw plenty of reps as the starter. The Giants recognized that position as a weakness and went out to fix it this offseason. Along with a new CB2 in Adoree’ Jackson, the Giants also added depth at cornerback and created an interesting competition at slot cornerback. The New York Giants have loaded their secondary with talent heading into 2020.

The Giants’ talented secondary

James Bradberry, Logan Ryan, and Jabrill Peppers were the stars of the Giants’ secondary in 2020. They also enjoyed the presence of a quality utility player in Julian Love. Xavier McKinney was also impressive at the end of the season coming off of an injury that kept him sidelined for the majority of his rookie season. Take all of this talent, now combine it with plenty more.

Adoree’ Jackson enters the Giants’ lineup as their new CB2. Jackson will allow the Giants to transition back into their more man-press-heavy coverage scheme. Since 2018, Adoree Jackson has the fourth-highest coverage grade when lined up outside according to Pro Football Focus with a grade of 85.6. The Giants got a bonafide CB1 (when healthy) to play CB2 for them on the outside.

Darnay Holmes was an impressive rookie slot cornerback who did not allow a touchdown in coverage during the 2020 season. He will compete alongside new rookie Aaron Robinson out of UCF in the slot. A-Rob is physical and should see a good amount of playing time inside along with Holmes.

Then, of course, Xavier McKinney is entering his sophomore season. Xavier flashed great potential at the end of the 2020 season and will see plenty of playing time in 2021. He could have a major breakout covering the back end of the Giants’ defense.

On top of these talented starting-level players, the Giants added a lot of quality depth to their secondary. Isaac Yiadom started 10 games last year and will be a solid depth piece at cornerback. The Giants also added Rodarius Williams at the back end of the 2021 NFL Draft, another physical man-to-man corner.

The New York Giants took one of their strongest units and made it even stronger in the 2021 offseason. It was hard enough for opposing quarterbacks to move the football against the New York Pass Defense in 2021. The New York Giants’ talent-loaded secondary is going to make Sundays even more challenging for opposing quarterbacks in 2021.

New York Giants: Can Julian Love be the answer at CB2 in 2021?

New York Giants, Julian Love

The New York Giants had a great defense last season, much to the surprise of many. One of the weak spots of the unit, however, was CB2. James Bradberry was elite as a lockdown CB1 for the team, but on the other end of the field was a revolving door of cornerbacks.

This has resulted in many believing that Giants would look to address that position over the offseason, but it might not be as pressing of a need as we thought.

The multiple players the Giants put out there at CB2 continuously underwhelmed for much of the season. However, their last guy ended up being the best guy. In Week 17 against the Dallas Cowboys, the Giants decided to give 2019 fourth-round pick Julian Love a try, and it worked out really well.

Love, who was a very good cornerback at Notre Dame, broke up a couple of passes and displayed tight coverage throughout against one of the premier wide receiving units in the league. He played a big part in the Giants holding Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and Michael Gallup to under 50 receiving yards each. Love shored up the weak link in the Giants secondary with his play and provided them with two legitimate corners for the first time all season.

Love’s play made Giants fans wonder why it took so long for the team to give him a shot at cornerback. It is his natural position, after all, and he was one of the nation’s best in college.

Over his three-year career with the Fighting Irish, Love totaled 176 tackles, 5 interceptions, 39 passes defended, and 2 forced fumbles. He was a Consensus All-American in 2018 and was also a Thorpe Award finalist, which is given to the best defensive back in college football.

Since Love has been with the Giants, they’ve been using him as more of a safety than a corner, which is something he didn’t play much of in college. Despite showing some promise in his role, it was clear at times that Love was playing a new position. He was even starting to see his playing time disappear because of how crowded the Giants’ safety group became, and it was looking like he was on his way to being another wasted draft pick. Not anymore.

As someone who’s been calling for the Giants to try Love at cornerback for a while now, it was great to see them finally give him a shot. Ideally, you would’ve like to see them make the move sooner so we could’ve had a bigger sample size, but the promise Love showed against a good offense is intriguing.

I’m not saying that the Giants shouldn’t add to the cornerback group at all during the offseason, but they should be more confident in Love’s abilities. I, for one, think his play has made CB2 not as big of a need as it was prior to Week 17.

The Giants would still be wise to use a mid-to-late round draft pick on a defensive back or sign a lower-tier free agent for depth and insurance purposes, but I think that they should go into next season, giving Love every opportunity to start opposite Bradberry each week. He should definitely be the lead candidate.

Will Julian Love be the answer? That remains to be seen. But after what he showed when given a chance, he has definitely earned more of them going forward. Most thought that the Giants would have to look elsewhere to fill the void in the secondary, but for all we know, the Giants might not have to look very far after all.

Did the New York Giants find their answer at CB2 in week 17?

New York Giants, Julian Love

The New York Giants started the 2020 season with Corey Ballentine as their second corner alongside James Bradberry, who they signed during the off-season on a three-year deal. Bradberry ended up becoming a Pro Bowl level corner, who has dominated on a weekly basis for the Giants since exchanging his light blue jersey for a dark blue one.

However, defensive coordinator Patrick Graham still had a major problem opposite Bradberry, as he moved on from Ballentine after just one week. Ballentine earned 92% of defensive snaps in week one against Pittsburgh, and that number jumped to 45% in week two and fell to a measly 3% in week three. After that week three loss to the San Francisco 49ers, the Giants barely used him at all, designating him to practice squad duties. They eventually cut him in week nine, and he latched on with the New York Jets.

After the Ballantine experiment failed, Graham moved onto Ryan Lewis, a former undrafted free agent who originally signed with the Buffalo Bills in 2018. He played in just five games this season following the replacement of Corey, but an injury derailed his campaign and once again created motion at CB2. Luckily, general manager Dave Gettleman allocated a seventh-round pick from 2021 for former third-round pick Isaac Yiadom, who made his way over from the Denver Broncos just before the regular season began.

Isaac really took hold in week eight, after Lewis picked up an injury. He had some ups and downs, with a season-high 77.2 coverage grade, per PFF against the Arizona Cardinals in week 14. However, his inconsistencies posed a significant problem, and after giving up two touchdowns in consecutive weeks against Cleveland and Baltimore, coordinator Graham elected to make another change. This is when second-year player Julian love finally earned the opportunity to test his talents at corner, his natural position.

Love was a fantastic corner at Notre Dame during his college years but made the transition to safety with the Giants in 2019 under James Bettcher. It took until week 17 of the second season to finally play the majority of reps as the number two corner. He finished with a 65.8 overall coverage grade, allowing 51 yards on four catches, but a majority came in the second half with Dallas trying to take a pass-centric road to victory.

The success Love enjoyed against Dallas poses a serious question, should he be considered as an option opposite Bradberry in 2021?

Realistically, the sample size is too small to guarantee Love the position moving forward, but he has the skillset and fundamentals down from his years at Notre Dame. I trust him more than Yiadom or any other practice squad players the Giants could possibly muster unless they allocate a solid draft choice toward upgrading the position.

The best-case scenario would be to find a solid corner who can compete with Love for the starting spot. It was encouraging to see him return to his natural state, and he looked like a good fit at the position. He understands Graham’s scheme well at this point, so the transition was seamless, and the hiccups were few and far between.

One thing he does have to work on is catching the football, as he dropped an interception while covering Amari Cooper on an out route in the second half. These are all things that can be worked on, but he has the natural instincts to be an adequate boundary corner.

New York Giants: Julian Love likely to fill in at outside cornerback in Week 15

New York Giants, Julian Love

The New York Giants‘ cornerback position is in a dire circumstance at the moment. Elite cornerback James Bradberry has been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list and will be out on Sunday night. Additionally, starting slot cornerback Darnay Holmes was out last week and is expected to be out again this week, as he has not practiced this week.

This leaves the Giants with few options at cornerback. Isaac Yiadom is healthy and will continue to start on the outside. But on the opposite side of Yiadom is a huge question mark. The Giants are likely to move rookie safety Xavier McKinney inside to play slot cornerback this week. However, the second outside cornerback position might also be played by a safety.

The Giants have a few talented safeties who could shift outside to cornerback this week. One intriguing option is second-year safety, Julian Love. The Giants drafted Julian Love in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft and he has been an excellent depth piece for them since last season.

Julian Love at outside cornerback

When the New York Giants drafted Julian Love last offseason, he was actually designated as a cornerback. Love played the cornerback position in college at Notre Dame. He occasionally played safety at the collegiate level but moved to the back end full-time once he was in the NFL.

Love is not the fastest guy by any means, which is why he is a better fit on the back end. But with few options outside this week, Julian Love could move back to his collegiate position against the Cleveland Browns.

Most of the beat reporters are predicting that Julian Love will play outside cornerback in Week 15. Upon being drafted, Julian Love had this to say about his alignment on the defense:

My skillset allows me to play outside or inside. Wherever they need me I’m going to compete. – Julian Love via the Giants on Twitter

According to Pro Football Focus, Julian Love played 8 total snaps at wide cornerback in his rookie season. This season, he has played only 6 snaps out wide. The majority of Julian’s snaps have come at free safety this season (453 snaps).

Lance Zierlein of NFL.com stated that “Love’s cover talent, intelligence, and ball skills give him a good shot at succeeding outside or from the slot,” prior to the NFL Draft. Finally, Giants fans might actually get to see Julian Love put those skills to use on the outside.

New York Giants moving toward benching Julian Love?

New York Giants, Julian Love

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.

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: Logan Ryan Should Be On Big Blue’s Radar

New York Giants, Logan Ryan

The New York Giants have had a spate of bad luck in their young, talented secondary. First, DeAndre Baker, a potential starter at cornerback this season, got himself jammed up down in Florida in an assault/robbery incident that resulted in him getting indicted and then placed on the Commissioner’s Exempt List.

Then, third-year cornerback Sam Beal decided to opt out of playing this year due to coronavirus concerns. Now, this week comes the new that stud rookie safety Xavier McKinney broke a bone in his left foot that required surgery and will miss at least three months.

The solutions could come from within, but common sense says it probably shouldn’t.

“Any injury to our roster is a hit to us because we care about every player on our roster,” said head coach Joe Judge. “But it’s our responsibility to have everyone developed and make sure the next man is ready to go.”

At safety, that next man is Julian Love, a fourth round pick out of Notre Dame in last year’s NFL Draft who started at safety the last four games of the 2019 season. The Giants could simply hand the job back to Love and be done with it, but again, common sense says they could do better.

That is why the Giants should probably pursue former Rutgers and New England Patriots defensive back Logan Ryan, who is still available in free agency. Ryan is well known to head coach Joe Judge and defensive coordinator Patrick Graham.

Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post writes the Giants can certainly fit Ryan into their plans.

“A career 85-game starter, Ryan played 395 special teams snaps over his first three years with Judge as a special teams coach for the Patriots. Judge favors cross-training positions, and Ryan, 29, can play in the box, roam deep or lock into a one-on-one slot matchup.

The Giants’ reasoning for staying pat makes sense: With the NFL salary cap potentially dropping by 11.6 percent to $175 million per team in 2021, there is value in rolling over unused 2020 space (currently $25.6 million) to soften the blow when the team is more competitive. Ryan was willing to take a one-year, $10 million contract to return to the Tennessee Titans and initially wanted at least that annual salary to change teams.”

The Giants are apparently weighing their options. The salary cap will be going down in 2021 and they have a lot of mouths to feed. Evan Engram, Dalvin Tomlinson, Leonard Williams headline the list of players who will be free agents next year. With less cap room to play around with, they have to be smart with how they deploy their resources.

The rollover will go a long way in helping pay those young stars. McKinney will be back next year. So will Beal most likely and who knows about Baker. Using $10 million of that on Ryan, who could be seen as a band-aid for one year, may not be the direction the Giants feel like going.

In the interim, they appear to be content will sticking with Love next to Jabrill Peppers and free agent James Bradberry at one corner. They still have to fill the opening at the other corner and at slot corner. Rookie Darnay Holmes will likely win one of those spots with the other going to any number of the candidates in camp: Montre Hartage, Corey Ballentine, Chris Williamson, Grant Haley, Jarren Williams, Dravon Askew-Henry, KeiVarae Russell, Brandon Williams and Prince Smith.

None of those players would bring the stability that Ryan brings. Not that anyone can see, anyway. They are in a corner, no pun intended, and the only way out may be to spend.

 

New York Giants: Free Agent Safeties Who Could Fill In For McKinney

New York Giants, Antoine Bethea

The New York Giants suffered a huge loss today. Rookie safety Xavier McKinney has suffered a broken foot that will keep him sidelined for months. McKinney was one of the most exciting rookies on the Giants. He was primed to play a major role as a starter in the Giants’ new defense.

Now, with McKinney sidelined for the foreseeable future, the Giants have a huge hole to fill on the back end. Julian Love is likely to start at free safety now, but the depth is lacking in the Giants’ secondary.

Logan Ryan

Many Giants fans have been crying out for their team to sign free agent cornerback Logan Ryan. Ryan had an up-and-down season with the Titans in 2019, but he put together a pretty spectacular statistical season.

Ryan is a former member of the Patriots as well, so he is familiar with Joe Judge. Logan could easily slide in as the starter in the slot cornerback position,  but he has experience playing on the outside as well, and even at safety.

If the Giants were to sign Logan Ryan, it would not be cheap. Ryan is reportedly seeking a contract worth more than $10 million. But his versatility would allow the Giants to gain depth at more than one position. Ryan could fill in at safety, slot cornerback, or outside cornerback, depending on where the Giants need him most.

Tony Jefferson

If the Giants want to get a pure safety, there are some veteran options they could take a look at. Tony Jefferson is one of those options. Jefferson is twenty-eight-years-old now and is a free agent after spending the last three seasons with the Baltimore Ravens.

One area of concern, though, is Jefferson’s injury history. Tony suffered a torn ACL in the fifth game of the 2019 season, sidelining him for the rest of the year. This was a huge loss in the Ravens’ secondary, as Jefferson was on the field for nearly every single defensive snap in Baltimore.

Jefferson was formerly a strong safety, playing in the box and making an impact in the run game. But he moved over to free safety last year. He could be a solid depth piece at either the free safety or strong safety position for the Giants, depending on where Julian Love lines up.

Antoine Bethea

The Giants could bring back a familiar face. It might not go over too well with the fanbase, but general manager Dave Gettleman could look to bring back the Giants’ starting safety from 2019, Antoine Bethea.

Bethea started all sixteen games for the Giants in 2019. He totaled 110 combined tackles, one interception, and six passes defended. But Bethea was very inconsistent for the Giants and struggled at times in coverage. He is also thirty-six-years-old, so he is not a spring chicken at this point in his career. Antoine would not at all be a long-term answer at the safety position. He would have to be signed on a one-year deal. But Gettleman’s familiarity with Bethea could entice him to re-sign the veteran.

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.