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New York Giants Safety Jabrill Peppers Opens Up About Reduced Week 1 Role

Giants safety Jabrill Peppers was a core member of the Giants defense last season. But so far, he's seen his role reduced, a move that has raised several eyebrows, including his.

Forty-five percent.

That number represents the percentage of snaps New York Giants safety Jabrill Peppers received in the team's Week 1 opener against the Denver Broncos, the percentage representing the 30 defensive snaps he played (out of a possible 66).

While that's better than zero, what's odd about Peppers' playtime last week is that it's a sharp decline from last season, when he used to be on the field for the Giants defense for 95-100% of the snaps.

"It’s different," Peppers said Tuesday.

The decline in Peppers' Week 1 playtime has raised a few eyebrows considering how big of a staple the fifth-year safety was last year.

Combine that with the Giants allowing him to play out the option year in his rookie deal at a rate of $6.77 million instead of extending him in the off-season, and the handwriting could very well be on the wall regarding his long-term future with the team.

However, head coach Joe Judge poo-pooed any conspiracy theories regarding Peppers' playing time.

"I wouldn’t read anything into that at all," Judge said Monday. "Pep’s a guy who’s going to play a lot of ball for us. Pep’s going to play a lot in a significant role, he’s a captain on this team, he’s a key member of our defense and our special teams units."

So why not give the energetic Peppers more to do?

"A lot of it was kind of based around making sure we try to thin some of the loads out for this guy in different things he had to handle. It wasn’t anything reflected on how he’s played or performed," Judge said.

"If anything, we came out of there with some of the things he did in the game, saying, ‘Hey, he’s a guy we want to have on the field as much as possible.’ So, we’ve just got to make sure that we consider some of the things that he’s doing and when he’s available having him out there on the field for us."

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Peppers, who is one of the team's emotional leaders, insisted he'll continue to do what is asked of him. But when asked if it was difficult for him to be the player he used to being when he's in and out of the lineup, he said, "You could say that."

Peppers was also honest with reporters regarding his play in Week 1. He recorded two pressures and registered a 102.1 NFL rating after allowing all four pass targets against him to be completed.

"Sub-par," Peppers said of his play. "I gave up two big third downs. I gave up a catch in the red zone. I don’t think that one was for the first down, but still nonetheless, the standard I hold myself to, those are routes that I usually cover in my sleep. It is what it is, I’ve just got to go back to the drawing board, hone in and get better."

Peppers wasn't the only member of the Giants' defense that struggled. But at the same time, Peppers knows that last week's showing wasn't acceptable by anyone's standards, including his own.

"When my number is called, do a better job than I did last week," he said, adding that he didn't know what his role for Thursday's game against the Washington Football would be.

"I’ve got to play better press technique. When my number is called just make sure I do what I’ve got to do."

"The plan was really just with his best interest in mind, in terms of making sure he can stay fresh through all the different responsibilities he has on the team," Judge insisted.

"But I would definitely not read too much into that. He’s a key part of our team for a reason."

While Peppers would like to be more involved, don't expect him to raise a ruckus with the coaching staff.

"I’ve got to do whatever is best for the team," he said.


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