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.
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