After Monday’s practice, Head Coach Joe Judge gathered the team and announced the team captains the players had voted to represent them on the field and in the locker room.
Since 2007, the Giants players have been voting for season-long captains. Prior to that, the tradition was to elect captains game-to-game. It is no surprise that the players selected represent all three phases of the game. This year there are three new captains joining four previous captains. Let’s introduce them by game phase.
RB, Saquon Barkley is selected for the third time as a captain. No surprise here. Barkley is the epitome of the work ethic Coach Judge looks for in his players. Saquon is battling back from an ACL tear that sidelined him for 14 and a half games last year. He has an excellent chance to start and play in game #1 versus the Denver Broncos. QB Daniel Jones joins Barkley as an offensive captain, his second selection. This continues a 14-year string of having a QB as captain (Eli serving the first 12 years as a captain). The surprise of this group is the selection of C Nick Gates as a third offensive captain. Gates was an undrafted offensive lineman (Nebraska left tackle) in 2018 that spent that entire season on injured reserve. In 2019, he worked his way onto the active roster as a Tackle/Guard. His flexibility was quickly tested by Coach Judge last season with a shift to Center where he started all 16 games for the Giants. Gates is known as the “Alpha Dog” among his linemates.
LB Blake Martinez, S Jabril Peppers, and S Logan Ryan were voted by teammates as the defensive captains. Martinez and Peppers were captains last year as well. Logan Ryan has been a spokesperson for the players since he arrived last September, but now officially has the title. “Captian Logan”, as he suggested the media address him from this point forward, is clearly deserving of this honor. He stated in his Monday media session that he’d never been a captain before. That is hard to believe given his leadership skills. Blake is the main defensive signal-caller and habitually ends up as a top 5 NFL player based on total tackles. Jabril is another active voice on defense as well as a team and media favorite.
A case can be made that Jabril Peppers is also a special teams captain, given his punt return prowess in 2020. But, first-time captain K Graham Gano will hold that honor this season. Gano missed just one field goal in all of 2020. His one miss was from 57 yards in the Chicago Bears game. Currently, he is working on 30 straight successful attempts heading into the 2021 season.
So, with the preseason now over, the regular season gets underway with this being Denver Broncos week. The players have voted and the Giants’ leaders are selected. It’s an excellent group.
Welcome to the 2021 NFL season! Let’s go G-Men!!
Photo courtesy of Giants.com