Since returning from his four-game NFL suspension earlier this season, New York Giants safety Will Hill has indeed made a positive impact in the defensive backfield. The second-year New Jersey native has come back this season with a fire in his belly. General Manager Jerry Reese gave the rookie free agent a chance last year, knowing that he needed to keep his nose clean and be a team-first player. After a few stumbles, Hill is showing why Reese gave him a chance.
In eight games (starting only five), Hill has had 50 tackles (40 solo), two forced fumbles and a recent game-sealing interception. Much like safety Antrel Rolle, Hill flies around the field and to the ball. He also plays both the run as well as the pass, hitting hard along the way. At a young 23 years-old, he’s only just begun to break out, barring any off-the-field setbacks.
Rewind a year to safety Stevie Brown’s first season in blue. The fourth-year defensive back out of Michigan (originally drafted by the Oakland Raiders in 2010) had a knack for being in the right place to make very opportunistic plays on the ball. He finished 2012 with 76 tackles, two forced fumbles, 11 passed defensed and eight interceptions. Those eight interceptions were returned for a total of a league-leading (as well as franchise record) 307 yards. Brown tore his left ACL in the 2013 preseason game versus the New York Jets — doing what else, but returning an interception. He was placed on season-ending Injured Reserve (IR) in late August. Brown was tendered to a one-year restricted free agent tender earlier this year and signed that tender in March.
Herein lies an upcoming offseason question: do the Giants bring Stevie Brown back? Yes. Hill is still coming into his own, for one. He also needs to prove himself outside of the Giants’ organization or, off the field. While his eight-game season thus far has been quite impressive, he hasn’t yet played a full-season role. Also, depth is always an issue in the Big Blue defensive backfield.
With Rolle and Hill, there’s only rookie (with limited playing time) Cooper Taylor, safety Ryan Mundy, defensive back Terrell Thomas, and defensive back Jayron Hosley. Contracts remain an issue for several of these players too. Brown knows Fewell’s system and works very well alongside Rolle. While the health of that knee may be a question, it isn’t a deal-breaker. As reported in the past, Terrell Thomas vowed to do everything he could do (from his own experience and faith) to help Brown rehab and get back on the field.
“(I told him) enjoy the journey,” Thomas said back in August. “It’s a long one, to be honest.”
There’s no doubt that Stevie Brown has remained in contact, not only with the team doctors and coaches, but with his teammates/fellow defensive backs, especially Thomas and Rolle. Expect to see him back in blue in 2014.
Photo Credit: Mike Gannon
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