Joe Judge and his New York Giants coaches have made a conscious effort to be supportive of players this season, despite the team’s 1-6 record. Witness the way offensive line coach Marc Colombo has always been adamant that Andrew Thomas has a bright future and has lauded his hard work despite his difficulties this season.
it was then a little bit jarring to hear defensive backs coach Jerome Henderson, asked about critical misplays by safety Jabrill Peppers and cornerback Ryan Lewis during the Philadelphia Eagles’ game-winning drive on Thursday night, be directly critical of both players.
Henderson, asked what Peppers could have done to prevent the touchdown pass to running back Boston Scott, went into great detail about the poor technique used on the play by the fourth-year pro.
First, here’s the play:
You can’t see it clearly in this GIF that our Nick Falato put together, but Peppers reached to knock the ball away with his right hand. Here is what Henderson said.
“You would like for Jabrill as I’m running with that guy and I feel his hands go up to make the catch that instead of going with my right hand there … if I miss with my right hand I’ve got nothing else to make the play with, I’ve actually kind of turned my body from the play, where if I go with my left hand there I’m into his body, I’m into his face, I’m into his hands and I get to fight all the way to the ground for the ball.”
How egregious was the mistake by Peppers, who was playing in his 46th NFL game?
“I expect every guy to make that play in our secondary. I expect every guy to go with the left hand and try to be hand to hand and play that ball out of it,” Henderson said. “Those guys are out there making split-second decisions under stress and it doesn’t always work that way, but we would like to make that play 10 out of 10 times with our left hand.”
The only way I can read that is Henderson leaving no doubt that play should have been made by Peppers.
As for Lewis, two weeks ago when the journeyman cornerback, in man coverage, gave up a long completion that put the Dallas Cowboys in position for a game-winning field goal, Henderson lauded the Cowboys for making a great play and was perhaps only mildly critical of Lewis for not staying on his feet.
Thursday, as a boundary player in the back end of a Cover 3, Lewis let Philadelphia’s John Hightower behind him for a 59-yard completion that put the Eagles in scoring range.
Henderson wasn’t forgiving.
“We just can’t allow that to happen in 3 deep,” Henderson said. “We have to stay on top of the field, play everything top down, and that’s a play that you just can’t ever allow to happen in our 3 deep system.”
So, yeah, there’s no soft-pedaling how Henderson feels about those two costly mistakes.