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Three-safety package making return to Giants' defensive arsenal

Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said Thursday the return of Kenny Phillips means the Giants will bring back the three-safety package they used successfully with former Giant Deon Grant the past two seasons.

Antrel rolle and Kenny Phillips now have company at safety with the emergence of Stevie Brown.
Antrel rolle and Kenny Phillips now have company at safety with the emergence of Stevie Brown.
The Star-Ledger-US PRESSWIRE

The three-safety package the New York Giants employed so often in 2010 and 2011 with Antrel Rolle, Kenny Phillips and Deon Grant is about to be re-introduced to the team's defensive playbook.

With Kenny Phillips declaring that he is ready to return to the lineup for the first time since injuring his knee in Week 4, and super-sub Stevie Brown leading the NFL in takeaways with seven, defensive coordinator Perry Fewell admitted Thursday he will be dusting off the three-safety look to get them all on the field.

Fewell said that he will "go full-bore" with the three-safety look.

"All of them are good players. That's a good problem to have that Kenny (Phillips) is back," Fewell said. "Initially, we were using Jacquian Williams, as a linebacker, to alternate as a big safety. Since he went down, and Stevie's emerged, we get Kenny back, our plans can totally focus on a three-safety package with three good players in there."

The Giants have been deeper and more athletic at linebacker, with Williams, Keith Rivers and Spencer Paysinger giving them the ability to play more traditional three-linebacker looks. With Williams and middle linebacker Chase Blackburn likely down Sunday, this seems like a good time to employ the three-safety package.

Fewell praised the work Brown has done replacing Phillips.

"Stevie showed that he was good in the spring from the post and he could go attack the ball in the air, and he showed he was good in the half-field, and he could go attack the ball in the air. Then at camp, he kind of settled off a little bit. You didn't see as much as you saw in the spring," Brown said. "You put him in the ballgame, against Carolina he picks one, so I'm telling the safety, "Don't get hurt, because this guy's going to pick another one." Somebody gets hurt, he goes in the ball game, and he picks another one. It is good to be surprised. I am very happy and excited for him and happy for our football team."

Fewell also expressed confidence in Mark Herzlich should he have to step in for Blackburn at middle linebacker on Sunday.

"I think Mark will do an outstanding job for us. He's been right there; he sits beside Chase in the meetings. When I ask questions, if he gets it wrong, Chase looks at him like, "What are you talking about?" Fewell said. "He feels the pressure in the meetings, okay. I think he'll do an outstanding job. He's done it before, so it's not like it's new to him."