Giants CB James Bradberry Will Not Play vs. Browns

Giants Place James Bradberry on COVID-19/Reserve List

Getty James Bradberry #24 of the New York Giants intercepts a pass intended for John Hightower #82 of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Early Thursday morning we caught wind that the New York Giants would be without the services of offensive coordinator Jason Garrett this weekend. Garrett, who tested positive for COVID-19, will work remotely and cede play-calling duties to tight ends coach Freddie Kitchens ahead of his revenge game with the Cleveland Browns.

Now, more bad news has struck the Giants, as New York will be stripped of arguably the best player on their entire roster. The team has announced that cornerback James Bradberry has been placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list and will miss Sunday night’s game against the Browns.

Bradberry was placed on the list because he was deemed to be a high risk close contact of an individual who has tested positive. The contact did not occur at the Giants facility and the individual is not a member of the organization.

Bradberry will remain isolated from the team and continue to participate in meetings remotely. Given the timing of the close contact, Bradberry will miss Sunday night’s game against Cleveland. If he continues to test negatively and has no symptoms, he would come off the reserve list on Monday.

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A Devastating Blow for Big Blue

Bradberry, a prized free-agent signing by general manager Dave Gettleman, has been everything the Giants hoped for and more since inking his hefty three-year, $45 million contract. Through 14 weeks of play, Bradberry is tied with NFC East foe, Ronald Darby of Washington, for the league-lead in forced incompletions, per Pro Football Focus. His 17 forced incompletions already outpace his previous career-high of 15, which he notched back in 2018 as a member of the Carolina Panthers.

The play of Bradberry, alongside fellow defensive backs such as Logan Ryan and Jabrill Peppers, has helped reenergize a defensive unit that ranked eighth-worst in football a season ago, catapulting themselves into the 11th-best ranked total defense of 2020.

Bradberry’s ability to lock down the opposition’s top-receiving target has also helped New York generate a fairly consistent pass rush despite lacking a true “sack artist.” The Giants as a whole have generated 31 sacks this season, just five fewer than they had all of last year. This, despite the fact that they have lost their top-three pass rushers to season-ending injuries, traded away Markus Golden and are currently operating with the likes of veteran journeyman Jabaal Sheard and rookies Carter Coughlin and Cam Brown on the edge.

Giants Secondary vs. Browns Aerial Attack

On the surface, a matchup with the Cleveland Browns may appear to be the game you would circle if you had to choose a game to be without your top cover corner. The Baker Mayfield-led aerial attack in Cleveland has averaged just 217.9 ypg through the air, seventh-fewest in the NFL.

However, those numbers can be vastly misleading, as Mayfield has greatly elevated his play and production over recent weeks. Since Week 12, the former No. 1 overall pick has averaged 311 ypg passing, including two performances of 334-plus yards. Mayfield has now thrown 13 passes to just two interceptions over his last seven games.

The saving grace here could be that the Giants have held opposing signal-callers to less than 213 ypg passing over their last four games. However, that was with the services of one of the league’s best cornerbacks at their disposal.

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