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Fact or Fiction: Jabrill Peppers at cornerback?


Jabrill Peppers will play some cornerback in the new scheme.

John Schmeelk: Fiction: Just because Jabrill Peppers has been doing cornerback drills with his trainer to improve his footwork doesn't mean he is going to play cornerback. He might cover some tight ends, or occasionally have to cover a slot receiver as a result of the call, but he will not be a cornerback by design. He is safety.

Lance Medow: Fact: Over his first two years in the league in Cleveland, Peppers played 155 snaps at nickel corner and 54 at outside corner, according to Pro Football Focus.  Last season with the Giants, Peppers lined up in the slot for 92 snaps and slid out to corner for 16 plays. Based on those trends, it's a pretty safe bet that he'll play a little corner in Patrick Graham's scheme. The Giants have been cross-training players in the secondary and considering - outside of James Bradberry -  the cornerback group is relatively young, so I wouldn't be surprised if Peppers played some corner. He and Julian Love are more than capable of playing either safety or corner and if Graham's defense will be multiple, expect some players to move around throughout the season.

The development of Daniel Jones is the No. 1 on-field story line for the Giants in 2020.

John Schmeelk: Fact: It is always about the franchise quarterback. The long-term health of the franchise is always married to how good the team's quarterback plays.. If Jones can flash his high-level play a bit more consistently while cutting down on his mistakes and turnovers, there's no reason to think he won't be the Giants' starting quarterback for a very long time. Teams that win consistently always have a good quarterback.

Lance Medow: Fiction: If we're just focusing on the outlook of this season, the top item has to be about the progress of the defense. Last season, the Giants ranked 25th overall, including 28th against the pass and 20th vs. the run. They also had just 36 sacks (22nd NFL) and 16 takeaways (tied for 3rd-fewest). We can speculate about Daniel Jones and the offense all you like, but the bottom line is the production of the defense is going to tell an awful lot about the team's 2020 performance.

The Giants won only four games in 2019 for a number of reasons, but the defensive struggles were right at the top of the list.  Although Jones had issues with ball security as a rookie, he threw for 24 touchdowns with 12 interceptions and completed nearly 62% of his passes.

Andrew Thomas is the player you're most interested to see when the pads come on at practice.

John Schmeelk: Fact: He was already extremely important, but with Nate Solder's decision to opt out, Andrew Thomas is one of the most essential players on the Giants' 2020 roster. It can take rookies, especially rookie offensive linemen, some time to adjust to the NFL. The skill of the edge rushers he will face every Sunday are far superior than who he saw in the SEC. With Thomas potentially being the team's starting left tackle on opening day, the team needs him to play well relatively quickly. In the season's first three games, Thomas might have to line up against players such as TJ Watt, Bud Dupree, Khalil Mack, and Nick Bosa. I am curious to see how he handles himself against the likes of Markus Golden, Kyler Fackrell, Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines next week.

Lance Medow: Fact:With Nate Solder opting out, all eyes will be on this year's first-round pick, given Andrew Thomas has an opportunity to start at left tackle right out of the gate. Left tackle is one of the most important positions on a team and considering Thomas hasn't been through a NFL training camp, is learning a new offense, and hasn't put on pads on since Georgia played in the Sugar Bowl on New Year's Day, I'd say that's a strong enough case to put him atop the list.  Without preseason games, every rep Thomas receives during practice, in pads, will be important and he should take full advantage of every chance he has to go up against the Giants' various pass rushers.

The offensive line will be the first thing you look at during scrimmages, which coach Joe Judge announced will begin next Friday.

John Schmeelk: Fact: Daniel Jones is the boring answer here, but probably the accurate one. It will be the first time to see him run Jason Garrett's offense in a game-like situation, which should be instructive. How quickly is he getting the football out of his hands? Will the team be in more 11 personnel or 12 personnel formations? Will the team be under center or in shotgun more?

I will be watching the offensive line, too, since the success of the group has so much to do with them working together successfully. Seeing them in action during a game situation with everyone going full speed and in full pads will be a good indication of where they are in terms of team chemistry. It will also give us a better feel if they are going to be more of a zone or power running unit. 

Lance Medow: Fiction: I think watching Daniel Jones is the top priority. The Giants have implemented a new offense that he's had to digest, mainly, through remote learning and he'll have no preseason games to get a realistic feel for the scheme. The scrimmages are the closest thing he'll have to simulate live action.  How comfortable Jones is with the offense and some of his new teammates will determine how smoothly the offense begins the season.  When you take all those factors into consideration, it's hard to put anyone ahead of Jones.

View the best photos from Friday's training camp practice.


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