Kenny Phillips seems likely to return to the New York Giants this week after having been out since Week 4 with a knee injury suffered trying to tackle LeSean McCoy of the Philadelphia Eagles.
Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell has been looking forward to Phillips' return. At least one member of our Big Blue View community is not, however. I received the note below from a reader, and I thought I would share it with you.
No other player infuriates me more than Phillips, this includes my normal disdain for Hynoski. In my opinion Phillips will always be the type of player that is one or two steps too slow to make the “big” play. We have seen that with Stevie Brown, a safety with good instincts, quick reactions and good positioning can make the interceptions that KP does not. If we were using Sabermetrics the interceptions over Replacement numbers would favor Brown considerably. Brown’s tackling numbers are also better than Phillips. I have no idea why Phillips is held in such high regard by members of the Big Blue View board. Perhaps it is because he showed up at a time when the Giants safety play was the worst that it’s ever been, so he was seen as a savior but he’s never played up to the first round status. Career 8 ints when a very good NFL safety should get about 4-5 a season!
So, with that in mind let's talk about Phillips.
My take is that he is a good player, a solid one who generally does the right thing, tackles pretty well, doesn't blow assignments, can cover a tight end and is, overall, an asset to any defense. Phillips, though, is not an elite safety. Perhaps it is partially because of the knee issues that he has suffered through, but I don't see Phillips as an elite athlete for his position. He doesn't possess the sideline-to-sideline speed and, as the e-mail correctly points out, he has never been a ballhawk.
There are two questions to ponder.
First, how much does Phillips help this defense? I think the answer to that is that he would help a great deal if he is healthy. Assignment mistakes are killing the Giants defensively, and Phillips being on the field would likely limit some of those. Also, with Jacquian Williams still out, Phillips can help in coverage against tight ends. His ability to play run will also allow Fewell to use some three-safety looks.
The other question to ponder is how much is Phillips worth long-term? This is the final year of his five-year contract, and the Giants have a decision to make once the year is done. Have they seen enough of Stevie Brown and Will Hill to let Phillips walk? Do they offer him a rich long-term deal? Do they offer him a modest short-term deal with little, if any, guaranteed money?
My guess is the Giants might do the latter. Considering Brown's play and Phillips' knee issues I can't see the Giants breaking the bank for him at this point.That, though, is really not the primary debate right now. The real question is how much can Phillips help the Giants during the next six games?