Pro Football Focus salutes Jabrill Peppers' 2019 performance
Jabrill Peppers had a solid first season as a New York Giant.
In 11 games, the versatile safety registered 76 total tackles (51 solo), five tackles for loss, two quarterback hits, three forced fumbles, five passes defended, and one interception which he returned for a touchdown. He also returned four punts for 49 yards (12.3 yards per return).
Peppers suffered a back injury in the team's Week 12 matchup in Chicago that cut his season short. However, prior to the season-ending injury against the Bears, the 24-year-old was playing some of his best football.
The New Jersey native recorded three consecutive games with coverage grades above 70.0, according to Pro Football Focus. He did not miss a single tackle during that stretch while picking up six pressures.
From Weeks 9-12, Peppers was the eighth-highest graded safety.
"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."
Judge told the media that Peppers, as well as all of the Giants' defensive backs, will be cross-training in training camp in order to provide more versatility in the secondary.
Joe Judge & staff bring new way to do business
A familiar soundtrack returned to the Giants' practice today as the players wore full equipment for the first time. The thud of shoulder pads energized players and coaches and served as a reminder the NFL season begins in less than a month.
"It definitely brings some more juice to the practice," wide receiver Sterling Shepard said on a post-practice Zoom call. "Guys haven't been in pads since the last game of last season. Some of us were very excited about it. I know the coaches were fired up about it. It's always like going to the first day of class. Guys were amped up in the locker room about it."
"It was great," running back Saquon Barkley said. "Any time you are able to go out there and you are presented with an opportunity to play the sport that you love you have to go try and take advantage of it. We got to put on pads for the first time in a while. Any time you get that and the pads get popping, everyone is definitely eager to get out there. It's another day, another day at work, another day to get better. Another day to try to improve, and I think we were able to do that today."
But this first class represented more than just another day. Shepard, Barkley and the remainder of the holdover Giants have a new group of instructors in coach Joe Judge and his staff. And they have brought to the team a new way to do business.
Three noticeable changes in Judge's practices: no names on the backs of jerseys, penalty laps and two 11-on-11 groups work simultaneously, which is vital when padded workouts have an NFL-mandated limit of 90 minutes.
"The way to expand that time is to expand the drills you're running and make sure everyone is working at all times," Judge said. "Our coaches have done a good job of organizing the morning and talking to players about where they're going throughout the practice. We have a lot of moving parts, but our players understand that there's a purpose in everything we're doing. We're trying to make sure everybody maximizes the time on the field, maximizes our reps, and gives us a chance to evaluate everybody, and for them to improve on their individual techniques.
"The benefit of having two different groups mirror the script for each other is we don't just get to watch one group run a certain play and a player learns off of somebody else's mistake. They all get to watch the tape and see themselves doing the exact same play as somebody else, see the differences and how they execute it. Maybe the other player executed it in what worked better for us. Then as coaches, it gives us just a better opportunity to see everybody play as much ball as we can. … We maximize the reps and fly around and get as much as we can. The theory is we want to get everybody as much reps as we can so we can evaluate the team, and everyone can work as much as they can to improve."
RB Saquon Barkley still eager to be coached
Saquon Barkley had the best two-season start by a running back in Giants history but believes he's just getting started.
The 2018 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and the only player in Giants history to top 1,000 rushing yards in each of his first two seasons, Barkley today expressed confidence that Saquon 3.0 will be even better.
"That's something that you have to try to improve on every year," Barkley said on a post-practice Zoom call. "Try to be a better version of yourself, try to improve on your game. It's the little things that you do in the offseason. It's the stuff that you focus on. The details in cutting, the details in watching film, of watching other people on film and trying to expand your game.
"The way I feel I can be a better Saquon Barkley, I guess you could say, is by coming here every single day, coming to work and trying to continue to earn the respect of my teammates. Continuing to try to push myself and push my teammates. At the end of the day, it's all about the team. That's the mindset we need to have in order to go out there and have a successful season."
Coach Joe Judge was well aware of Barkley's skillset and production and has come to appreciate the running back's attitude and work ethic through their remote virtual learning sessions in the spring and the first few practices.
"I think the most pleasing thing about Saquon so far is how eager he is to be coached and how he is always looking for a better way of doing something," Judge said. "I think our roster as a whole has been very receptive to different coaching points, buying into what we're doing and that's been very impressive. I love the way he works on the field. He comes out every day with a purpose and that's important. You can see what he's working on specifically not only from our own install standpoint but personally based on what may have happened in a previous practice. Or a technique or fundamental that he has to improve on himself. He has a unique skill set and he is going to give himself an opportunity to maximize that by the way he's working right now."
Photos: Pads come on Monday at training camp
The Giants practiced in pads for the first time Monday at Training Camp.
Check out the gallery below to see the first look of Giants players on the practice field in pads.
The Giants practiced in pads for the first time Monday at Training Camp