Injuries to Secondary a Primary Concern

John Fennelly , Lead Writer

The Giants had their complete starting secondary sitting on the sidelines today at TIMEX. Safeties Kenny Phillips (knee) and Antrel Rolle (knee) were joined by CBs Jayron Hosley (hamstring) and Corey Webster (hand, hamstring) on the “did not participate” list. Another CB, Michael Coe (hamstring) practiced in full.

“It has been a revolving door,” DC Perry Fewell said today. “We have not been fortunate enough to stay healthy, and I think that the guys are working hard and doing the best job they possibly can to get back on the field and be with us.  It’s been a revolving door.”

Phillips is out indefinitely (3-6 weeks?) with a sprained knee. Rolle practiced yesterday but he is clearly still battling through a badly bruised knee, sustained two weeks ago in Carolina. Wild horses couldn’t keep him out of a game (he hasn’t missed one in his three years here), but his effectiveness is in question.

“They’re trying to control him, the swelling inside,” said Coughlin of Rolle. The coach said he was “hoping and feeling” his star safety will play Sunday. Next to Rolle will be Stevie Brown, who came in last week’s game after Phillips went down.

“I thought Stevie Brown came in and did a nice job,” said Fewell. “To be put in that position and that type of situation, he really didn’t have any major errors.  He came in and he tackled well.” Brown had seven combined tackles (two for losses) and a QB hit.

Coughlin said that Brown and rookie Will Hill would both see extensive reps in Phillps’ absence and would both be used this week vs Cleveland. Coughlin cited Hill for his efforts:

“He’s accepted the challenge of playing in the nickel position as he did last week.  He plays hard, he wants it badly, he’s very motivated.  He’s done whatever we’ve asked him to do – special teams was the original thought, but now he’s more involved in the secondary.  We just hope he keeps getting better.”

Tyler Sash is also being added to the mix. He has been on suspension the past month for violating the league’s policy on PEDs.

“It’s always good to get a player back,” said Fewell. “Is he ready to play?  That’s up for Tom to determine.  It’s always good to get a player back that has been with you and knows your system and has knowledge and has experience.  We’ll see.” 

“Tyler’s done well,” said Coughlin. “He’s in very good shape, moving very well.” In order to activate Sash, the team must release a player before Sunday.

Hosley has already missed one game and in danger of missing another. Webster told reporters he aggravated an old hamstring problem but expects to play.

When asked if Hosely or Coe would be back, Coughlin as mum on Hosley but said that Coe was ready to return. That’s the good news. The bad news is Coe is not Hosley.

The starters this week at CB will again be Webster and Prince Amukamara. The Prince is back and healthy, but his performance thus far has been met with mixed reviews. Fewell danced around when asked about the team’s former first-round pick:

“That’s a hard question for me to answer because Prince is a guy that we have a lot of expectation for and he hasn’t had a lot of practice time, even though this is his second year.  As he continues to play, he gets better.  To have a measuring stick right now, it’s hard to do because we haven’t had that continuity so to speak, or the consistency with him playing a whole lot.”

“It’s key for us,” said Fewell when asked how important it is for Prince to play like a first-rounder. “It’s big. That’s why he’s a first round pick.  He comes with an expectation that if he can help us and play for us and be solid at corner for us, then we’re a better defense.”