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Giants lose safety Jabrill Peppers ahead of game vs. Chiefs

New York announced that the safety would head to injured reserve on Tuesday.

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Carolina Panthers v New York Giants Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

In advance of their Monday Night Football matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs, the New York Giants placed safety Jabrill Peppers on injured reserve on Tuesday — ending his season. Peppers, who was also serving the Giants as the team’s punt returner, ruptured his ACL and suffered a high-ankle sprain during the team’s 25-3 win over the Carolina Panthers.

Ed Valentine of our sister site, Big Blue View, recently wrote about the impact of losing Peppers ahead of Monday night’s game.

VALENTINE: Peppers had not been playing as much this season as he had in his previous two seasons with the Giants. When healthy, Peppers played nearly every snap the past two seasons. This season, he played only 58 percent of the defensive snaps, although that number does include one game missed with injury. Still, not the volume of snaps he had been accustomed to.

We talk about how Peppers can be a liability in pass coverage. His physicality, run defense, and ability to blitz are all, however, things the Giants will miss.

Julian Love is almost always the first option for the Giants when they need to fill a hole in the secondary. He will almost certainly figure more prominently in the Giants’ defensive plans now.

What, though, about Aaron Robinson? The rookie third-round pick was designated to return from the PUP list last week. The Giants have this week and next before they have to activate him or place him on IR for the remainder of the season. Could Robinson be ready to join the 53-man roster?

Robinson is just returning to practice after having been out since rookie mini-camp with a core injury. It is likely overly ambitious to expect him to be ready to play a significant role initially, but the Peppers’ injury and the Giants’ revolving door of slot defenders perhaps provides an opening to get Robinson on the field over the second half of the season.

The other issue is punt return. With Peppers out, the primary option would appear to be Dante Pettis. Cornerback Adoree’ Jackson has averaged 8.8 yards on 53 punt returns in his career, but hasn’t done it regularly since 2018. Giants fans, and the Giants themselves, are waiting for a time when Toney gets an opportunity to return punts, and maybe kickoffs. He doesn’t seem healthy enough right now.

Injuries are never something to rejoice about — although this does provide Kansas City somewhat of a break as it tries to find some consistency in its offense on Monday night. Peppers had registered an interception in each of the last four seasons, finishing with 11 passes defensed in 2020.

It is also fair to say that against the Panthers, he was putting together his best game this season. Over 27 plays, he accumulated five tackles (four solo) and a sack. As Valentine mentioned, the Giants will need to find a replacement for Peppers’ rotational snaps on defense (he primarily lines up as a slot corner and box safety) while also using a new punt returner against the Chiefs.

With the game a day later for Monday Night Football, the first official injury report won’t be posted until Thursday afternoon. On the Chiefs’ side, the players to watch right now are linebacker Anthony Hitchens (triceps) and defensive lineman Chris Jones (wrist/groin).