He’s new here, but he’s more familiar with the Giants’ defense than any player who’s been on the team all spring and summer.
“It’s a real statement,” said Tony Jefferson of Safety.
How is this possible?
Here’s how: Jefferson spent his three his seasons with the Ravens and his fourth safety part of his play. Wink he Martindale was the linebackers coach and then served as his defensive coordinator. This makes Jefferson a well-educated newcomer. Because he signed to the practice squad last week and is expected to be promoted to the active roster soon.
Jefferson got used to his practice gear, and after his first session with his new team, he realized how much he held onto and how much of it was from what he gleaned in his first season with the Giants in the first round against Martindale. I did. Defense coordinator.
“Oh yeah, it’s pretty much the same defense that we were running in Baltimore,” Jefferson said. “For me, everything was so fluent. It’s so good when you’re in the movie room, with the same words, the same language, and it feels easy for me to get out there and play quickly.
Sooner or later, Jefferson could become a factor in the Giants’ defense. Undrafted from Oklahoma, the 30-year-old spent his first four seasons in the NFL as a full-time starter with the Cardinals. His training in the desert earned him his four-year, $34 million contract with the Ravens. He started in 2017 when Martindale was linebacker coach and started again in 2018 when Martindale took charge of the Ravens’ defense. Jefferson blew his knee early in his 2019 season and was released to miss all of 2020.
After two appearances with the 49ers in 2021, Jefferson re-signed with the Ravens and appeared in four games. He was camping in Baltimore this summer, but was cut in late August.
Veterans have to swallow some of their pride by accepting a spot on the practice team. Jefferson turned down offers from other teams to come to the Giants, he said. He knows his new team well.
The starting safety is Xavier McKinney and Julian Love. Rookie Dane Belton, his fourth-round pick from Iowa State, is set to enter the rotation once his broken collarbone has fully healed. The Giants released Jason Pinnock (Jets) and Justin Lane (Steelers) from waivers last week. They want playing time in a safe space because they want to excel on special teams. Jefferson is the most experienced option.
“I think that’s everyone’s goal. They want to ride the 53,” said Jefferson. “I want to go through the spring, go through camp, and finish with 53. These days, depending on how it works, I can basically be a practice team guy getting to 53. If I don’t really care about titles, I just want to be there and play football, it’s good to know the system because it allows me to play fast. When you play fast, that’s when you play your best for me, and that was a big reason why I chose to come to New York.”
It probably won’t take long for the 5-foot-11-inch, 211-pound Jefferson to clear his practice team designation.
“Of course, just knowing defense and other things helps me to be able to go out on the field,” he said. I had to prove to the organization that I could do it and do it at a high level.”