James Bradberry spent the first four years of his NFL career with the Panthers, a 2016 second-round draft pick of Dave Gettleman, then the general manager in Carolina. When Bradberry hit free agency, Gettleman brought him to the Giants with a three-year, $45 million deal.
The 28-year-old cornerback put together a sensational first year with the Giants, but has not reached that same standard this season. On Sunday, he will face his former team for the first time.
“Of course it’s special, because that’s where I started,’’ Bradberry said. “I know some guys still on that defense and some guys on that offense, so I think it’s going to be special to see some of my old teammates. As far as me having animosity or anything towards them, they weren’t there when I was there, so I can’t really blame them for not keeping me.’’
Indeed, the current Panthers front office and coaching staff are not the same groups that Bradberry worked with. He is quite familiar with DJ Moore, who leads the Panthers with 40 receptions for 513 yards and three touchdowns. Bradberry and Moore were teammates for two years and worked against each other countless times on the practice field.
“I think one, his explosiveness,’’ Bradberry said of Moore’s strengths. “He’s very fast and quick. Two, he’s able to judge the ball well down the field. Also, he’s a very good runner after the catch. I’m not sure what his stats are, but I know when I played with him, he was very good at catching the ball on slants and creating explosive plays off of that.’’
Perhaps knowing Moore as well as he does will help Bradberry.
“Oh, for sure,’’ Bradberry said. “I’ve been against him before, and of course I watch film on him now. I think I know him.’’
Tae Crowder was a Saturday addition to the Giants’ injury report, listed as questionable with a thigh injury.
Inside linebacker is a position with little depth, especially after starter Blake Martinez was lost for the season in Week 3. If Crowder cannot play, Carter Coughlin figures to receive snaps alongside Reggie Ragland. Crowder replaced Martinez as the player wearing the green dot helmet, making the defensive calls sent in by coordinator Patrick Graham.
The Giants kept fullback Eli Penny on the roster, again, because of his special teams contributions and blocking ability.
They also believe, in a pinch, he can be a positive factor with limited ball-carrying opportunities. Saquon Barkley (ankle) is out, Devontae Booker is averaging just 3.0 yards per attempt and rookie Gary Brightwell has just one rushing attempt. Perhaps it is time to give Penny the ball more often. He has 30 yards and one touchdown in eight carries this season.
“Eli’s proven that he can be a versatile guy,’’ offensive coordinator Jason Garrett said. “Eli comes in and does a good job as a runner. I think he’s proven that at different times throughout his career. We have a lot of confidence in him doing that. He’s a bigger back, he’s physical, he finishes runs, but he also is athletic and has good feet.’’
The relevancy and accuracy of this is debatable, but here goes: Joe Judge is No. 3 on the list of NFL head coaches on the hot seat, with odds of 13/4 to be the first head coach to get fired this season, according to BetOnline. Matt Nagy of the Bears (3/2) and Urban Meyer of the Jaguars (5/2) are the “favorites.’’ There is no evidence that Giants ownership is remotely contemplating an in-season coaching change, so these Judge odds are mostly for show.
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