New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur speaks on what the team’s defensive backfield looks like going into the 2019 season.
Although the offseason has featured many changes for the New York Giants, the secondary may have been hit the hardest. They lost safeties Curtis Riley and Landon Collins to the Oakland Raiders and the Washington Redskins, respectively. They also lost cornerback B.W. Webb, who signed with the Cincinnati Bengals.
Only one starter from last year’s defensive backfield will be returning in 2019—veteran cornerback Janoris Jenkins.
However, the Giants have made moves to increase the depth of their secondary. They got Jabrill Peppers to replace Collins via the trade of Odell Beckham Jr. The Giants signed veteran Antoine Bethea to a two-year deal a few days after.
Speaking to the media on a conference call on Monday, Giants head coach Pat Shurmur spoke on the secondary and what the depth of the defensive backs looks like.
“We have made a lot of changes, especially bringing in Jabrill (Peppers) and Antoine Bethea,” Shurmur said via GiantsWire. “But we still have Michael Thomas, Kenny Ladler is still here, Kamrin Moore and so is Sean Chandler. There are some guys that were here a year ago. Michael Thomas is a special teams captain and he probably played more safety a year ago than we anticipated, so he has some experience. Kenny is an experienced player and then we have the young players Moore and Chandler, they have done some good things for us. At safety, we have brought in two guys that we anticipate being starters for us, Jabrill and Antoine. They are bright guys and they will get going here quickly.”
Collins was essentially the quarterback of the defense and had been since his All-Pro season in 2016. Peppers, Bethea, and company will have big shoes to fill now that he’s gone. However, the Giants seem to have a ton of depth at that position, so fans are hoping it all comes together.
Shurmur also took the time to dissect the cornerback group.
“At corner, we have Jackrabbit (Janoris Jenkins, who started every game), who looked good today, and I am anticipating he will have a great offseason,” Shurmur said. “Sam Beal is here and we signed Michael Hunter. Then we got Antonio Hamilton, Tony Lippett and Henre’ Toliver, along with Grant Haley.”
The Giants began their voluntary offseason program on Monday. Hopefully, the team chemistry between the defensive backs builds up early. The secondary was ranked 21st in the NFL last year by Pro Football Focus but was ranked 10th in passing yards allowed per game.
Needless to say, it’s not a horrible defensive backfield, but it’s still a new one. The majority of the starters are new to the team. Therefore, the chemistry will need to be established early on in order to have any sort of success.