by Spiro Kasabian @nyspawtsguy_spi
One of the key parts to the 2011 Championship defense for the New York Giants was the use of the three-safety look in their base defense by Perry Fewell. The threesome of Kenny Phillips, Antrel Rolle and veteran Deon Grant, allowed that defense to be multiple on the backend. Their versatility gave Fewell a ton of options when calling his defensive plays. The Giants are looking to duplicate that success this year with their current crop of defensive backs and safeties.
Heading up this year’s three-headed monster at Safety will be Jabrill Peppers, Julian Love, and newcomer Logan Ryan. The unfortunate injury to second-round pick Xavier McKinney put his debut on hold, but he will be just another piece to this upon his much-anticipated return. This group of players allows Defensive Coordinator, Patrick Graham, to leave the same players on the field for entire defensive possessions while being able to use them in different ways. Judge constantly talks about wanting to be “multiple” and loves versatility in his players.
Peppers – Love- Ryan
In Peppers, Love and Ryan, he has just that, versatilty. Each of the three players in the rotation have previously shown that they could play well in different areas. This versatility is key to having all three players on the field at the same time.
Meet the Three-Headed Monster. Jabrill Peppers will excel playing downhill, as an in-the-box safety that can make plays all over the field. He will fill the same type of role that made him a first-round pick out of Michigan. Peppers was on pace to set career highs last year until a back injury cut short his promising first year as a Giant. The hope is that he can put it all together in year four and become a fixture in this defense for years to come.
Love is a second-year player that showed good promise during his rookie season. Love was considered a steal after falling to the New York Giants in Round 4 of the 2019 NFL Draft. Love was a standout Cornerback for Notre Dame, but during his rookie season as a Giant, he played significant snaps at Safety when the aforementioned Peppers went out. Love’s ability to play Safety and Cornerback will make him a perfect Swiss-Army Knife for Graham.
Lastly, the newly signed Logan Ryan was brought back home to New Jersey when the promising rookie, Xavier McKinney went down with an injury that will keep him out for several months. Ryan and the Giants seemed like a perfect match from Day One, so it was great to see them find common ground on a contract. Ryan has the ball-skills to play a very good deep-half Safety for the New York Giants. That was a void that needed to be filled once McKinney got hurt, and there might even be a good chance that Ryan can play that spot better than McKinney ever could. Ryan has also played Cornerback for his entire career, so he will be able to move up and take on Tight Ends or Wide Receivers whenever needed.
Coach Judge’s quote when talking about Ryan says it all: “He’s going to play a variety of roles for us, so if I gave you one answer right there, I’d be lying,” Giants coach Joe Judge said. “Logan, one of his strengths really is versatility. Really, having a guy like that allows you to play other guys in fewer positions because he can handle a lot of the multiples while these guys are learning the system.