The New York Giants finally got some good news on the injury front this week. After losing Andre Brown for the season to a broken fibula, there was fear that safety Kenny Phillips may be out as well after re-aggravating the knee injury that had kept him on the sidelines since Week four. Fortunately, Phillips has assured fans that he will be out on the field this Monday against the Washington Redskins.
Phillips' presence on the field allows the Giants to play three and even four safeties at one time. These personnel groupings make it extremely difficult for quarterbacks to diagnose who is going to blitz, who is going to drop into coverage, where they are going to drop into coverage and even makes it hard to tell if the defense is in man or zone coverage. Furthermore, Phillips is one of the best over-the-top safeties in the NFL and has an advanced knowledge of the Giants defensive schemes.
"I can absolutely play Monday," Phillips said on ESPN radio. "I feel a whole lot better."
The Giants were fortunate that Stevie Brown was able to fill in admirably in Phillips' absence. Brown had five interceptions and two fumble recoveries in six games without Phillips. However, Brown is not well versed in the Tampa-Two defense and has blown coverages on more than one occasion this season, most notably on Cincinnati Bengals wideout A.J. Green's 56-yard touchdown reception in Week 10. Brown will still be utilized as a third-safety and on special teams, but Phillips is undoubtedly an upgrade in the defensive backfield.
Big Blue will need all the speed they can get against Robert Griffin III on Monday. The Giants would be better off with three safeties and two linebackers on the field to keep up with the Redskins versatile offense. An extra safety can be utilized as a spy, as a zone defender in the middle of the field, or even in man-to-man coverage. If the Giants can switch up their pass coverages and confuse the Redskins standout rookie this weekend, Big Blue will have success on the defensive side of the football.
Also…Andre Brown, Cincinnati, Cincinnati Bengals, Football, Kenny Phillips, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Robert Griffin III, Stevie Brown, Washington Redskins