S Jabrill Peppers
September 21, 2020
Q: How gutted are you for Saquon (Barkley) and how can the team press on through the rest of this season without a player like that?
A: Obviously, my heart goes out to him. He works extremely hard. Obviously, he’s a leader on this team. I know from working out with him over the summer that he was looking forward to this season after the ankle injury last year. I’m definitely, definitely praying for him. But he’s a guy who’s going to bounce back better than ever. Minor setback for a major comeback. In this league, injuries happen. You hate it, but it happens. You have to have a next man up mentality. I think the guys that we have in the room do a good job stepping up.
Q: What’s it been like playing next to a guy like James Bradberry, who seems to be shutting down everyone he’s covering and he’s played really well, especially this last week? What was your reaction to the interception he had where it didn’t seem like he turned his head around to get it?
A: Brad works hard. Everything you guys are seeing in the game, he’s been doing since he’s gotten here. He’s a true pro. He takes his craft very seriously. The plays he makes for us on Sundays definitely go a long way. As far as his pick, he did a great job of playing through the hands. I initially thought he just broke the pass up. But to come down with that, that was a hell of a play at a much-needed time. It was a game-changing play for us. I just hope he keeps making more of them.
Q: How do you make the second half defense the all-the-time defense for this Giants?
A: We just have to come out with that same mindset and that attitude. It’s still early in the year, but we can’t keep coming out shooting ourselves in the foot and try to play catch up in this league. You put yourself behind the 8-ball in this league, you make it tougher for yourself. Just attention to details. We’re going to watch the film and get everything corrected up and prepare for a good 49ers team coming in.
Q: That second half, was that what it’s supposed to look like for you guys?
A: For the most part. I think we still had some mental errors and missed assignments, but our urgency was way better, we tackled better, our coverages were better, both zone and man, and I think we made it much harder on Mitch (Trubisky) than we did in the first half. The guy is already good in this league, but you can’t give him things. I think in the second half, we did just a great job of just making it hard on him and making him earn everything.
Q: I think everyone expected the run defense to be a strength of this team. Why do you think it hasn’t been quite up to the level you want these first two weeks?
A: It’s just small things that turn into big things on Sundays. Just gap integrity, setting the edge, being sure tacklers. It’s going to come together. We just have to keep getting better and better every day, keep laying the foundation and the bigger picture will happen.
Q: The 49ers, they played at MetLife yesterday and had a lot of injuries and had some complaints about the turf. You’ve obviously been on that turf a lot this summer and in Week 1. Do you have any complaints or any issues with the turf?
A: No, not that I can say. I think every field kind of presents its own kind of problems. That’s why you go out there pregame, get a good feel for the turf. Is it a fast track? Do you need your studs or your molded cleats? Things like that. But on our part, we haven’t had any issues with it.
Q: The odds of making the playoffs are against teams pretty heavily that start 0-2 in a season. I’m just curious how concerned are you guys as a group about 0-2, not having Saquon and possibly losing Shep as well for a little bit?
A: We don’t think about those things. You can only control what you can control, and that’s getting better each and every day we come in here. We’re right there in games. It’s just in this league, it always comes down to three to four plays that you wish you had back that determine the game. Obviously, we haven’t gotten the results we’d like to. But we know we’re not far off. We know we have a ways to go, but I like to think we’re trending in the right direction. We’re just going to keep coming in here and getting better. We’re not going to get demoralized. We understand injuries happen. It’s the next man up mentality. It’s a production business, and you have to produce.
Q: What’s your message then to your teammates in terms of staying positive and believing in the plan and going forward, even though these losses sometimes take a toll?
A: That’s exactly the message. We have to stay together. All we have is us. We just need to keep chomping at the bit and, eventually, we know the ball will roll our way.