Whether to keep Stevie Brown or part ways with the free-agent safety is one of the interesting personnel questions facing the New York Giants this off-season.
Brown burst on the scene for the Giants in 2012. After two non-descript seasons with the Oakland Raiders and Indianapolis Colts, Brown got a chance with the Giants and took advantage of it. He intercepted eight passes, forced and recovered two fumbles and defended 11 passes in 11 starts. He played to a Pro Football Focus grade of +4.5 and a passer rating against of 71.3.
Brown then lost the entire 2013 season after suffering a torn ACL while returning an interception during a pre-season game against the New York Jets. He re-claimed his starting job in 2014 when the Giants cut Will Hill, but his season was a decidedly mixed bag. He proved that he was healthy, but in reality did not play well.
In 2012, Brown's 10 total turnovers largely covered for the fact that he was part of a secondary that surrendered 73 plays of 20 yards or more, fourth-worst in the league.
In 2014, the Giants surrendered 75 of those plays -- again fourth-worst in the league. In 16 games, eight starts, Brown could not cancel out those big plays by creating turnovers. Perhaps a step slower, he had no interceptions, forced fumbles or fumble recoveries, and had just one pass defensed. Pro Football Focus graded Brown at +0.2 (-2.9 in pass coverage) with a passer rating of 152.6 and average of 25.0 yards per completion when targeted.
Brown started the first three games, lost his job to Quintin Demps, then re-emerged as a regular player the final third of the season.
The Brown decision is complicated by a number of factors. Demps will almost certainly be let go. Defensive captain Antrel Rolle is a free agent and his return is not a sure thing. Nat Berhe, a 2014 fifth-round pick, is a promising young safety. Do the Giants think he can play regularly? What of Cooper Taylor, the rangy 6-foot-5, 230-pound safety who missed all of 2014 with an injury? Do the Giants think Brown, another year removed from knee surgery, can return to his 2012 form? Do they think 2012 was an aberration? Do they think Brown will never be the same athletically following surgery?
Valentine's View: Cut Brown. It can't be a coincidence that the Giants gave up so many big plays in 2012 and 2014, and that in 2013 when Brown was sidelined that number dropped to 46, among the best in the league. It's time to either try Berhe and Taylor, or get somebody else.
Vote in the poll and let us know what you would do.