I was wondering why so many people were all over Kenny Phillips for the first touchdown the Giants gave up to the Bears on Friday night. It wasn’t until I watched the broadcast today when I heard Dan Dierdorf criticizing Phillips that it all made sense.
But Dierdorf, whose opinions are very strong even when very off-base (see the untimed down note below), didn’t properly break down the play for the audience.
You see, Phillips was clearly upset with the way Bruce Johnson played that one because Johnson, as the cornerback in a Cover-2 look, should’ve funneled Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall toward the middle of the field so Phillips could’ve had a better shot to cover him.
For those who read our Giants practice reports and see how defensive coordinator Perry Fewell is always talking about “leverage,” that’s what he means. Johnson should’ve maintained outside leverage.
“Bad technique on my part,” Johnson said after the game.
Okay, enough picking on Johnson. That’s not what I set out to do here. Rather, he was very honest on Friday night while assessing his play as he comes back from a torn Achilles tendon suffered in camp last summer, so I wanted to pass that along to you.
“I’ll be ready. I’ve just got to tighten up on my technical things,” Johnson said when asked if he’ll be needed to play a big role in light of the potential loss of Prince Amukamara for a bit. “I’ve been out for a year and a half, almost two years (since his last game), so I’m still getting back into the swing of things. Coach says he wants me to move a little quicker, which is no problem. I understand that fully. I’m just going to keep working, do what I have to do, work on my craft and get better.”
Johnson, if you recall from his pick six against the Cowboys in 2009, has been a nice little player for the Giants in the past. He has to find that form again, especially after giving up the touchdown to Marshall and getting beat for another one when wide receiver Joe Anderson beat him on a spin move after catching a hook.
“I think he wants me to (make) a little bit more plays on the ball,” Johnson said of what his coach is telling him. “But I’m getting back into it and I’m coming along pretty well.”
Asked if it’s all a part of the recovery process, Johnson replied, “Yes it is. Being out of football for almost a year and a half, two years, seeing the reads and everything, getting back into the swing of things. I’m progressing but he wants me to move a little bit quicker.”