If the Giants are without strong safety Jabrill Peppers, head coach Pat Shurmur has an idea of how the defense will look Sunday when New York (2-9) hosts the NFC North-leading Green Bay Packers (8-3).
Ahead of Sunday's 1 p.m. kickoff at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, Shurmur said Wednesday that the Giants are prepared to enter rookie Julian Love and veteran Michael Thomas into the safety rotation.
"We'll have a combination with Love back there and Michael Thomas, so we'll fill in," Shurmur said. "I thought Love did a good job, first extended action last week and so he displayed a lot of the things that we thought he might have. So we'll just try to build on that if, for some reason, Jabrill can't make it."
Peppers suffered a transverse process fracture in the third quarter of Sunday's 19-14 loss to the Chicago Bears (5-6), but Shurmur is optimistic that the injury will not end the first-year Giant's 2019 season.
In the meantime, Love and Thomas are slated to see more reps after the defense forced two interceptions against the Bears, including Love's first career pick.
Cornerback is another spot where Shurmur liked what he saw from his secondary in Week 12, pointing to the progress of rookie Sam Beal as one positive sign.
"It's good to see Beal on the field," Shurmur said of the second-year cornerback, who missed the 2018 season entirely with an injury and started the year on Injured Reserve. "His first action, so to speak, playing defense ... he played the week before (Nov. 10's 34-27 loss to the Jets), but extended and planned and he did a good job. And what I liked about it? I like seeing -- they're young players.
"And if we have Love, we've got another rookie out there. And you could make the case that, really, Sam is a rookie. Last year was like Year 0 for him because he didn't get a chance to compete at all. But he competed. At first, he got lined up properly, generally speaking, (knowing) what to do. He competed, so it's always good to see a player get out there and get something done."
Beal did not necessarily show up on the stat sheet, but with others such as rookie Deandre Baker have an up-and-down campaign, the youth movement creates competition where the Giants need the jolt.
"I think it was good to get Beal on the field," Shurmur said. "I think Deandre -- it's always good when there's a competitive setting, too. ... When he was out there, he competed hard. And when he wasn't in there, he's standing there and watching intuitive of what was going on. So hey, they're young players. There's a lot to learn for all of them and we'll keep them all going."