Kenny Phillips in a rush to bring energy back to team

On Monday, Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw declared himself ready to go this weekend against the Ravens without a practice to test his sprained left knee under his belt.

Tuesday, it was Kenny Phillips who proclaimed his sprained right knee healthy enough for him to return Sunday without a practice to draw upon.

The safety has missed the last two games after aggravating his sprained MCL against the Packers in Week 12. Like Bradshaw, he didn’t make the trip to Atlanta and watched the Giants’ 34-0 rout at the hands of the Falcons on television. And like Bradshaw, Phillips doesn’t want to be a spectator any longer as the Giants fight for their postseason lives.

"I’m 100 percent confident that I’ll be on the field this week," Phillips said in a radio interview on ESPN 98.7 yesterday afternoon. "Not sure which role that the coaches want to allow me to play, but whatever they allow me to do, I’m going to go out there and give 100 percent and try to be that spark for our defense these last few weeks."

Phillips first sprained his MCL against the Eagles in Week 4. He then missed the next six games and returned against the Packers, allowing defensive coordinator Perry Fewell to use the three-safety package he relied on last season with Antrel Rolle and Stevie Brown as the other two components.

But Phillips aggravated the knee injury and couldn’t finish the game. He played a limited role the following week against the Redskins, but hasn’t practiced since.

Watching from afar, Phillips said he saw a Giants team that lacked the necessary energy on Sunday in Atlanta.

"That’s one thing I can’t explain," Phillips, the Giants’ first-round pick in 2008, said. "I think that’s why all of us at the organization are scratching our heads. We can’t figure out why one week we come out, we have that fire in our eyes and the next week not so much.

"It’s not that we’re not practicing hard. It’s not that. It’s not that guys (are) not buying into it, but for some reason, since I’ve been here the last over four or five years, that’s just how it’s been. Up and down, up and down. I hate to say it, (but) I think a lot of the guys have gotten used to it. And we win when we have to. When we don’t have to, we kind of just go out there flat."

The Giants’ loss Sunday, combined with the Redskins’ and Cowboys’ victories, left the Giants on the outside of the playoff picture looking in for the time being. They still control their own destiny: Consecutive wins to end the season clinch a postseason berth. But a loss in either game would force them to rely on outside help.

Phillips, as many of his teammates have echoed, said the Giants are at their best against the proverbial wall. They followed that pattern during the 2007 Super Bowl run — the season before Phillips was drafted — and again last season.

But then there was the 2010 season, when the Giants could’ve clinched a playoff berth with a win over the Packers in Week 16. Instead, they were blown out, 45-17. And despite a 10-6 record, the Giants didn’t make the playoffs that season.

"We just have to get back to being passionate about the game," Phillips said. "If a guy makes a play, no one’s congratulating, no one’s jumping around. It just seems like we don’t have no fire, no energy right now."

Phillips hopes his return, perhaps along with cornerback Prince Amukamara’s, will provide some sort of boost, both on the field and emotionally. Without Phillips over the last two games, the Giants have allowed 61 points.

"The situation that we in right now, I have no choice," Phillips said of playing Sunday. "It’s either now or never."

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