Julian Love
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New York Giants rookie safety Julian Love is finally receiving in-game reps in the injury-related absence of Jabrill Peppers.

Starting New York Giants strong safety Jabrill Peppers experienced his first missed game of the year on Sunday. The third-year pro suffered a transverse process fracture during the Week 12 loss to the Chicago Bears. He could miss up to two more weeks after the most recent loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Because of the injury, rookie defensive back Julian Love has taken over for Peppers. The Giants had hardly fielded Love on the defensive side of the ball this entire year. But now, he’s receiving more experience than he has all season. And to him, that’s extremely important.

“This is huge [for me],” Love said, per Mollie Walker of the New York Post. “I think the ability to get game time reps, valuable reps, is crucial. It’s not just practice — now you’re getting game-like reps. And so you’ve just got to learn. If I make mistakes, I got to learn from it, and this is my time to. Just embracing it all, really.”

In the latest loss, which was Love’s first career start, the rookie combined for seven tackles and one forced fumble. Against Chicago, he racked up his first career interception after Peppers exited the game early.

Needless to say, the production thus far from Love has forced Giants fans to scratch their heads over why the coaching staff took this long to play him. They should’ve been giving him chances all year long, especially if he’s able to produce like this.

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Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.