When Giants coach Joe Judge at mid-week gave his lengthy and detailed overview of the Bears, before winding down, he said, “You can’t forget about special teams.’’ Of course. Would Judge, with his background steeped in special teams, ever forget that part of the game?
So, we can forgive Judge for sounding enraptured about Cordarrelle Patterson — a Bears receiver and, more significantly, their kickoff return threat. In the season-opening 27-23 victory in Detroit, Patterson averaged 36.7 yards on three kick returns.
“I’ve had personal experience with CP from my days somewhere else,’’ Judge said, referring to the 2018 season he and Patterson spent together with the Patriots — with Judge not mentioning his former employer by name.
Patterson has 207 career kickoff returns, averaging 30 yards along with seven touchdowns. The Giants, with Judge as the messenger, are forewarned.
“Patterson is one of the best to ever play the game as a kick returner,’’ Judge said. “Simply put, this guy is someone that you’ll read about in history books. When you play against this guy, everybody on the field better be aware of where he’s at, whether that’s offense or on special teams.’’
Saquon Barkley is in his third NFL season, and this will be the third time he faces the Bears. He had a big game (24-125) in a victory in 2018 and a quiet game (17-59) in a loss last season.
“The reason why the Steelers were able to win the game and did a really good job in the run game wasn’t because we didn’t see them before,’’ Barkley said. “I guess you could say there is an advantage because we played [the Bears] the year before and the year before that. This will be the third year for me playing them in a row. You kind of understand those guys.’’
The Giants could have a special teams ace up their sleeve. Jabrill Peppers played 63 of the 64 snaps on defense in the loss to the Steelers and also served as the punt returner. He had a 20-yard return and averaged 13 yards on his three returns. He was noticeably more aggressive running up to field the ball, rather than calling for a fair catch, than Giants returners in recent years.
“He is dynamic with the ball in his hands,’’ special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey said.
Robert Quinn (ankle) is expected to make his Bears debut. Khalil Mack (knee) missed time in practice but will play. Both defensive studs are listed as questionable. … The Giants, for the eighth consecutive year, had at least one of their rookie draft picks start a season opener. That is tied for the NFL’s longest streak with the Bills, Panthers, Jaguars and Buccaneers. Two rookies, offensive tackle Andrew Thomas and cornerback Darnay Holmes, started last week for the Giants.
New York Post
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