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New York Giants’ Kevin Gilbride: Jerrel Jernigan Will “Definitely” Be the Guy to Replace Victor Cruz

December 20th, 2013 at 8:00 AM
By Dan Benton

With wide receiver Victor Cruz now out for the remainder of the season following knee surgery, the New York Giants will be forced to look elsewhere for production out of the slot position. Insert third-year wide receiver Jerrel Jernigan, whom offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride says is the next man up.

"He’ll definitely be the guy," Gilbride said on Thursday. "He’s the one that most closely embodies the qualities you’re looking for in the slot position, the quickness, the toughness, and you just hope the things that come up each and every game – it’s a little different; he hasn’t been through them as much as Victor — but that he’ll react and respond to the different coverage disguises in there."

Drafted in the third round of the 2011 NFL Draft, Jernigan's short Giants tenure has been anything but spectacular. Despite high hopes and tons of potential, the former Troy Trojan has done little to impress while dealing with a multitude of early career injuries.

In his three seasons with the Giants, Jernigan has played primarily on special teams, serving intermittently as a kick returner. On the offensive side of the ball, Jernigan has played in only 21 games (30 overall), hauling in 20 receptions for 181 yards (9.1 ypc) and no touchdowns. His best game came a week ago against the Seattle Seahawks when he took over for the injured Cruz, catching seven passes for 67 yards.

"I thought he came in and did a terrific job for not really having a lot of opportunities to play as much as he did," Gilbride added. "After Victor got hurt he came in and showed the quickness that we always knew he had and I thought he made great decisions in the zone coverages. He obviously can run after the catch, which we tried to exploit and take advantage of."

With only two weeks remaining, this is about as good a position as Jernigan will likely find himself in. He has two games to prove to the Giants (and if not the Giants, 31 other teams) that he's capable of producing on the field and is worthy of an additional investment.

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Tags: Football, Jerrel Jernigan, Kevin Gilbride, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Victor Cruz

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9 Responses to “New York Giants’ Kevin Gilbride: Jerrel Jernigan Will “Definitely” Be the Guy to Replace Victor Cruz”

  1.  Krow says:

    This is really a good example of ‘fan goggles’. I so incredibly over-estimated the talent on this roster. Looking back now … after the cold, hard slap of reality … I’m amazed at how blind I was.

    • Dan BentonDan Benton says:

      How can you tell with 23 players (after Cruz) being placed on IR or waived/injured, another 2 on PUP, another on short-term IR and then other injuries to players like Damontre Moore, Hakeem Nicks and Trumaine McBride?

      It’s easy to say they weren’t talented, but to be fair, they’ve lost more than two units worth of players and have had absolutely no continuity as a result of endless f’n injuries.

      Not trying to pass the buck, but when you never play together you can’t succeed together.

      •  Krow says:

        No, that’s very true too. But damn, I thought we were a playoff team … maybe even an outside shot at winning it all. Now I don’t know what we are.

        • Dan BentonDan Benton says:

          It’s so bad that if Diehl, Jenkins and McBride can’t go this Sunday, the Giants will be forced to not only dress Nassib and Robinson, but an injured player who won’t get any snaps.

          If Michael Cox or Andre Brown gets injured, Conner is your back-up running back (with Bear Pascoe being the 3rd guy in line).

          Think about that…. It’s absurd. It’s so bad they can’t even afford to place Cruz/JPP on IR without restructuring a contract.

  2.  Nosh.0 says:

    I’m going to echo what JB32 said yesterday, the main culprit for all of this is the OL. They had a complete and utter meltdown this season. Causing our franchise QB to also have a meltdown. Fix that and we likely begin to look like a real offense again.

    That’s not to say we don’t have other issues, but if you look at the D since Beason arrived they’ve played well enough to win. Add in a healthy JPP next year to offset the loss of Joseph and/or Tuck and I think there is at least a 50% chance we get back to the playoffs. Of course we will also need to add a WR and RB depth, but OL is far and away the biggest issue.

  3.  Nosh.0 says:

    Some interesting points raised about Coughlin the last few days.

    My perspective is this. If you’re looking solely at 2014, then I would give him another shot, hands down no questions asked.

    However, if you go into this offseason not only looking toward 2014, but planning your future for the remainder of Eli’s career, then I see the argument in looking for a new coach. However I should point out that I see no reason why TC can’t coach another 10 years, I’m sure he wants to.

    All that being said, the point I keep coming back to is this, you want to be sure. Meaning you don’t want to be in week 10, 2014 wondering if maybe we should have kept Tom Coughlin. For example when we fired Fassel we knew it was time. We may not have been sure if TC was the right guy for the job, but we knew without a doubt that Fassel had to go. We already know for a fact that TC can win a super bowl with Eli. Before I get rid of the coach I need to be sure that it’s time to move on (aka he can no longer win with this team). And while there is evidence indicating it might be time for a change, we’re still not 100%. In TC’s case, I’d rather fire him a year too late than a year too early. My feeling is the reward of a possible SB title in 2014 outweighs the risk of another lost season.

    •  jb322 says:

      I definitely think there is a disconnect between the type of players TC is looking for and what Reese is bringing in. The fact that the coaching staff cannot adapt their system to take advantage of some of the skill sets of their players is quite an indictment on their inflexibility. Like I said before though, if we are going to keep Coughlin indefinitely, then we need to get a GM that will get his kind of players, not just the BPA.

  4.  jb322 says:

    Lots of players on IR this year. Just out of curiosity I went out and ran some numbers based on the last 5 years. The Giants are a team that is injured ALOT. Over the past 5 years we are in the top 10 in injuries. I don’t know what the cause of that is but I think its something they need to solve. If you look at teams like Philly, Min, Pit and SF, they never have the injuries we have. When you look back at all the mediocre records during the Coughlin years, you wonder how much this has to do with it. It is almost impossible to win consistently if your talent isn’t on the field. I got to thinking about this because over the years I had read stories about the Giants trying to employ these novel devices to “optimize” workouts. Then this year I read something where Tuck said he had went back to his old workout habits and concentrated alot on strength training, and as a result he felt much better.

  5.  The Real LT says:

    Then it’s time to show the strength and conditioning coaches the door along with their “novel optimized workouts”!

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