COMMENTARY | Just when the New York Giants thought they were set at the safety position, the vicious injury bug that comes with the NFL preseason reared its ugly head and has left New York without the depth at safety that it had a week ago.In the Giants' third preseason game of the season vs. the Jets, Big Blue lost starting safety Stevie Brown for the entire 2013 season after tearing he tore his ACL during an interception return on Saturday night, according to Tom Pelissero of USA Today.
The loss of Brown is a huge blow for the Giants' defense for a number of reasons.For one, Brown led the team in interceptions by far in 2012, picking off eight passes in just 12 starts for the Giants. In comparison, the second-leading pass interceptor for New York was Corey Webster with four.
Although New York has an experienced leader in Antrel Rolle also manning the safety position, the depth behind Rolle and Brown begins to drop off. Ryan Mundy -- who the Giants signed this offseason -- is the candidate to take the starting reigns this season at free safety, according to Tom Canavan of the Miami Herald.Brown's -- combined with the lack of depth at safety for the Giants -- highlights the need to bring back Kenny Phillips, who was just released by the rival Philadelphia Eagles.
Not only does Phillips have starting experience in the NFL, but he also has the knowledge of Perry Fewell's defense and has proved to be an asset to the G-Men defense.The 26-year-old safety has Pro-Bowl talent. He played for the Giants for five seasons and made 41 starts before opting not to take New York's offer during this past offseason, instead, joining the Eagles. Phillips' best season came in 2011, when he posted four interceptions to go with 82 tackles and a forced fumble.
With Phillips on the market, the Giants have to pounce on him. Their defense ranked 31st in the NFL last season -- including 28th against the pass -- and can't afford to let the D be the weak link during the 2013 season.In the NFC East where the Eagles, Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins all boast mobile quarterbacks who move in the pocket well and get the ball down the field, it's imperative that the Giants have active, experienced safeties to provide help over the top in the passing game and run-stuffing abilities near the line of scrimmage.
Phillips isn't going to be a fix-all for the Giants' defense, but he'd certainly be an upgrade over Mundy as a starter and would provide New York with further depth at the safety position.
Tyler Sash, Will Hill and Cooper Tyler are all still in the development stage, and while I think Sash and Hill could serve as valuable depth for the Giants, I don't think they're ready to handle a starting job.NFL.com's Chris Wesseling has already speculated about the Giants bringing back Phillips. Now it's time to make it happen, Jerry Reese.
Pete Schauer is a native of the Jersey Shore where he covers the New York Giants for Bleacher Report and writes for HoopsHabit and contributes to the YES Network. You can follow him on Twitter @Pete_Schauer and find him on Google+.
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