Julian Love is finally looking to get an opportunity to be the everyday free safety for the New York Giants in 2022.
After appearing in all 17 games for the Giants and starting in six, the former fourth-round selection in 2019 is looking to make the most of his latest shot in training camp.
“I feel really good about going into this camp. I think the opportunity is there for me and right now I just gotta focus on the process and capitalize on each day.” Love said after Thursday’s practice.
With the departure of Logan Ryan in free agency and a new defensive coordinator, Julian Love’s experience at being both safety and corner bogues well for his overall starting prospects.
But he still feels that safety is his top spot.
“Safety is more suited to me, I play better closer to the ball. I like being close to the ball and press a little bit.”
With a new coaching staff, it’s easy for young players to get lost in the shuffle as new schemes and players are introduced. With the hiring of Wink Martindale, the Giants added a defensive coordinator with an excellent pedigree from the Baltimore Ravens.
That pedigree of a physical style has already seeped into the team according to Julian Love.
“Since day one he (Martindale) has been himself.” Love explained. “Unapologetically. He wants the best of us and he pushes us and he lets us have fun..kind of be creative.”
Julian Love mentioned the idea of having a creative mind being important to the game of football as defenses and offenses look to get a leg up on one another. Part of the reason Martindale had so much success in Baltimore was due to that creativity.
Baltimore’s defense ranked in the top 10 three times in the four years Martindale ran the group, with the 2019 team ranked as the best defense in football. It’s that creativity that helped safeties like Eric Weddle, Earl Thomas dominate the game.
The comparison of Weddle and Thomas to the current crop of safeties has already been used many times by the defensive coordinator.
“He tries to highlight the guys he’s had in the past. It’s something we try to emulate in disguises and how we read plays.” Love said.
Julian Love also mentioned that the defensive-minded coach allows each player to be themselves. While the safety likes to play up on the line of scrimmage, his coverage skills are no pushover. On a particular play in practice Thursday, Love broke up an open pass from Daniel Jones to Kenny Golladay. Golladay, a jump-ball receiver, wasn’t able to complete the catch thanks to Love’s quick instincts and ball skills.
The safety’s ability to defend passes is something that he has felt has always been a strength of his going back to college.
“I was reflecting this season and I was the record holder for pass breakups at Notre Dame. So I gotta use that. Just being around the ball is something that’s always been in my game.” Love added.
Julian Love’s versatility is an important skill set that he recognizes the team will need throughout the year. The ability to cover the back-end while also being physical enough to play up on the ball is something few safeties in the league can do.
Pairing with Xavier McKinney, Julian Love is looking to build chemistry within a secondary that is relatively unknown. While the Giants have questions surrounding their cornerback position, their safety pairing is one of the more intriguing and positive groups on the entire defense.
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