Aug/03/11 08:30 AM Filed in: Kenny Phillips
As a rookie, the Giants kept the reins tight on Kenny Phillips because he was too inexperienced. The next season, they loosened them and he played two of the best games the team has gotten from a safety since the early part of Shaun Williams’ career.
But two games was where Phillips’ 2009 season ended, and he landed on an operating table to help repair an arthritic condition in his knee. Last season, though he played in all 16 games, Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell played him in the deep-safety spot (the “post&rdquo
to keep his knee away from contact.
This year, the Giants believe it’s time to loosen the reins once again.
“Oh yeah, it’s got to happen,” Phillips told reporters today. “It’s time to get more involved in the defense, just to do whatever it takes to help this team win. … Last year, a lot of times I was in the post mostly the whole game. Now, I probably take on a bigger role, as far as getting down in the box and just really be a part of the scheme.”
Fewell agreed that’s the plan.
“I’m looking for him to take a quantum leap,” Fewell said. “After coming off his injury and playing in the 2010 season, as a coach, I will admit that I protected him a little bit. I wanted Kenny to be on the field, I wanted him to play for us.
“Football is a violent game and I tried to minimize the collisions that he encountered last year. He showed his football intelligence in the two days of camp. He’s ready for that bigger role as we have talked. I ‘m looking for big things.”
In addition to an increased role in the game plans, Phillips pointed to a more well-rounded training program as a reason he might have a breakout year. Whereas last offseason he was working simply to rehab after surgery, this year he went through the usual work to get into top form.
Phillips is hopeful the subpar form he showed last year is behind him.
“I wasn’t as explosive as I thought I would be,” he said. “A lot of guys were telling me it’s going to take a year. I was doing my best to try to prove them wrong, but it turns out they were right.
“But fortunately, I was able to finish the season. I had a few nicks here and there, but I was happy I got through it.”
And the knee now?
“It’s fine,” Phillips said. “It’s been a while since I even had to see the doctor. Everything’s great. … I feel normal, I feel pretty good. The knee is not an issue.”Click here to order Kenny Phillips’ proCane Rookie Card.