Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Big Blue to Revisit Scheme?

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Big Blue to Revisit Scheme?

Article excerpt

EAST RUTHERFORD - Stevie Brown has earned the respect of Kenny Phillips, not to mention the rest of their teammates with the Giants and more than likely the entire NFL.

Since Phillips injured his knee in Week 4, Brown has emerged in his absence to become one of the defense's most valuable playmakers at safety.

He intercepted two passes against the Cowboys, earning NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors, and he leads the league in takeaways (five interceptions, two fumble recoveries).

Forced to watch from the sideline - and on television from his couch - Phillips has given Brown plenty of advice on how to play what amounts to center field in defensive coordinator Perry Fewell's coverage schemes.

Now that Phillips is poised for a return in Sunday's showdown at MetLife Stadium against the Steelers, the Giants surely are going to give him his starting job back.

That might not necessarily come at Brown's expense, considering Fewell already is devising ways to have those two and Antrel Rolle on the field at the same time.

While Big Blue's mad scientist is busy scheming in his defensive lab, Phillips promised he would understand if Brown continues to get the nod over him.

"He did what he was supposed to do. He took advantage of an opportunity," Phillips said after practice Thursday. "It's rare that a guy loses his position to an injury, but I mean it's possible with the way he's playing. But I'm not worried about it. Whatever role they give me, I'll take it.

"If I have to back up my backup, I'll do it."

Phillips missed the last four games after suffering an MCL injury in Philadelphia on Sept. 30. Rolle received clearance and returned to practice Thursday after completing the league's concussion protocol for a head injury he sustained in Dallas.

As for what the presence of Brown has meant to the Giants, Phillips quipped: "You definitely don't want to take a guy like that off the field."

The Giants utilized a three-safety package last season with veteran Deon Grant playing with Rolle and Phillips, and that combination worked very well, all the way to a Super Bowl XLVI victory over New England. …

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