No matter how many times he looks at a depth chart or is waved onto the field by his coaches, Julian Love still can’t believe his eyes.
After building a reputation as a super sub in his first three seasons with the Giants with the versatility to play any position in high school and the altruism to take on all-or-nothing roles from week to week, Love is drawn as a starting security. Add to that the luxury of competing in the same spot alongside rising star Xavier McKinney for every snap.
“I don’t know if that’s what these last few years have done to my way of thinking about how I do things, but I still feel — despite what it seems to be at the moment — I have that chip on my shoulder,” Love told The Post. “I feel like I always have my back against the wall. That was just drummed into me. I really had to fight for what I got.”
If the Giants “did everything possible to screw up quarterback Daniel Jones,” as owner John Mara said in January, then they’ve done everything they can to replace Love since he was drafted by Notre Dame as an All-American cornerback. and quickly informed that his future was secure.
Love, 24, is the sole remnant of the three defensemen who drafted the Giants in 2019. He welcomed the competition created by seven other defenders drafted from 2020-22. He learned from the big acquisitions James Bradberry, Logan Ryan and Jabrill Peppers – all of which are gone.
Now, against all odds, the third coaching staff of Love’s career seems ready to give him a chance to start in the final year of his contract.
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“You never know in this league, so I try to stay where I deserve what I get,” Love said. “You have seen that nothing has been handed to me in recent years. I’m not going to lie and say it wasn’t tough, but I pride myself on being resilient, having a good heart and staying as positive as possible.”
Ryan’s surprise release in March was bittersweet for Love.
“I thanked Logan because everything he taught me was invaluable,” Love said. “He returned the feelings and said to me, ‘There’s an open door.’ I take as many opportunities as possible.”
The Giants need love to emulate Ryan’s impact because the young cornerback emerging to replace the sacked Bradberry has bigger shoes to fill.
Love started with Strong Safety, Free Safety, Outside Cornerback, and Slot Cornerback while going big in special teams. In 48 career games, he has played 20 or fewer defensive snaps 18 times and 60 or more 14 times.
“I always thought, ‘If I’m in this position, I have to do this. If I’m in this position, I have to do this,'” Love said. “It’s hard to lose that. Sometimes the coaches say, ‘Slow down a bit and just deal with it now.’ ”
Love intercepted Jones during Thursday’s team practice, accepted celebratory helmet hits and jogged down, rocking the ball as if imagining completing a pick-six. Playing for safety under aggressive play-caller Wink Martindale could mean blitzing, playing man-to-man slot coverage and patrolling the midfield in a three-game span.
“This defense will reflect who Wink is as a person,” Love said. “He really doesn’t care what people think of him. He’ll do it his way, but not in an in-your-face, my-way-or-the-highway way. He lets guys be creative and have the keys to defense. But our mindset and mentality will be that we go out on our terms and let these guys feel it. It’s been really fun so far.”
Take it from the longest-serving member of the Giants’ high school. Yes, as hard as it is to believe, this is love.
“I’m constantly thinking about what my role and responsibilities are,” Love said. “I’m a big believer that everything happens for a reason. That resilience that I’ve had to have over the past few years will only make me a better player this year. I’m trying to improve my game a lot this year by still letting the game go to me, which is most important. But you know where I’m from: I gotta keep that chip on my shoulder.”
https://nypost.com/2022/05/21/giants-julian-love-finally-set-to-start-resiliency/ Giants’ Julian Love finally ready to go: “Resiliency”