Tag:Kenny Phillips
Posted on: November 30, 2011 2:54 pm

Film Room: Giants vs. Packers preview

Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit

What you’re about to read is not a prediction for the Giants to knockoff the undefeated Packers. The Giants are banged up, have lost back-to-back primetime games and are coming off a trouncing by the Saints offense.

Come Sunday, they’ll have had only six days to prepare for the even-more-prolific Packers – a team coming off a mini bye after playing last Thursday. But there are myriad opportunities to read about why Green Bay can further push New York into one of its patented late-season declines.

We already know which is the better team here. So instead of just joining the masses, let’s challenge ourselves by examining how/why the Giants might be able to pull off an upset.

1. Throwing from base personnel
The Giants offense is most comfortable operating out of base personnel (two backs, one tight end, two receivers). Base personnel gives the Giants more opportunities for a balanced run-pass gameplan and aids their play-action.

More importantly, if last year’s Week 16 matchup between these two clubs is any indication, the Packers will match the Giants’ base personnel with their own 3-4 base personnel. Green Bay is considerably less dangerous lining up in a standard 3-4. Most of Dom Capers’ blitzes and subterfuge come from the nickel 2-4-5 package (with Charles Woodson sliding into the slot).

Against the Pack’s basic 3-4, the Giants pass-blockers can worry less about identifying blitzes and more about traditional execution. The front five can focus on sliding protection towards Clay Matthews and the running backs will have a cleaner look at their help-blocking assignments (such as chipping on the edges or covering for a lineman who gets confounded by a stunt).

What’s more, out of base personnel, the Giants running backs would be bigger factors in the pass game, and Eli Manning would also have a chance to attack A.J. Hawk in coverage. Hawk has recently improved as a space player, but offenses still prefer throwing at him inside and down the seams versus throwing at Charles Woodson or the safeties against the nickel look.

Tight end Jake Ballard (30 receptions, 490 yards this season) gives the Giants an auspicious target in this matchup.

2. The Bradshaw factor
If Ahmad Bradshaw does not return from his foot injury this week, you might as well watch Rams-Niners or Cardinals-Cowboys or The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills during the late afternoon window. Without Bradshaw in the backfield, it will be very difficult for New York to throw out of base personnel, as Brandon Jacobs plays with oven mitts over his hands and D.J. Ware has not shown impressive start/stop quickness in the flats.

Bradshaw is a quick, versatile receiver and an underrated pass-blocker. More importantly, he’s far and away New York’s best runner (Jacobs can still plow over defenders when he has a head full of steam, but his lack of initial burst is a real hindrance to the ground game).

Running the ball is critical for the Giants because it helps keep Aaron Rodgers off the field.

3. The Eli factor
If Eli Manning is not in the tail end of that Tom Brady elite class, he’s comfortably at the very head of the class right after it. It sounds implausible, but Little Brother these days is underrated. Manning is having a career-year despite injuries to his receivers, top running back and offensive line (most recently, left tackle Will Beatty, who missed Monday’s game with a detached retina and will sit out again Sunday).

The Giants offense, even with the injuries and disappearance of its rushing attack (82.3 yards per game, 32nd in the NFL) has managed to post 22.9 points per contest (16th in NFL).

Manning, with his audible powers at the line, almost never lets the Giants attempt an ill-fated play. What’s not talked about enough is his arm strength. He has the gun to get the ball outside the numbers or through tight windows – and he can do it while throwing off-balance or falling back with defenders in his face. He’s as tough in the pocket as any quarterback in the game and, in the last year or two, he’s become routinely accurate.

4. How to attack downfield
The Giants may not prefer to spread the field and make this a shootout – they don’t have the wide receiver depth for that, especially if Mario Manningham’s knee remains an issue. But given the brilliance of the Packers offense, it’s possible – if not probable – that Big Blue will have to score 30-plus in order to win.

If that’s the case, the Giants may want to copy the Chargers’ approach from Week 9, when Philip Rivers & Co. hung 38 points and 460 yards on the Pack. In that game, San Diego lined up in condensed formations, with their receivers in minus splits (inside the numbers). With receivers starting their routes closer to the middle of the field, the Packer defensive backs were forced to defend more space, as they could not rely on the sideline for help:

The Chargers have good receivers and they got great protection up front that day, so they were able to capitalize on the condensed formations. The Giants receivers might be a grade below the Chargers’ (it’s debatable), but regardless, they’re capable of winning one-on-one matchups in space. The Giants’ O-line struggled two weeks ago against the Eagles, but it’s been stellar in protection most of this season.

Condensed formations don’t just create more space for receivers’ routes, they also create opportunities for picks and rubs with crossing routes, which present problems for any defense in man coverage.

5. Giants defense
As we covered in last week’s Film Room post, the Giants like to use their big nickel defense (two linebackers, three safeties) against an offense’s base personnel – especially when the offense has a versatile tight end (like Jimmy Graham last week or Jermichael Finley this week). Expect to see Deon Grant, Antrel Rolle and Kenny Phillips all on the field for most of this game.

It’s impossible to devise a gameplan that can stop Rodgers and this Green Bay passing attack. Your best bet is to bank on what you do best. For the Giants, that means rushing the passer with four. They got absolutely nothing from their pass-rush Monday night, which was disappointing given the glaring mismatch they had with their ends against the Saints’ iffy tackles. A four-man rush gives coordinator Perry Fewell seven defenders to play with in coverage, which allows for tighter zones and plenty of freelance defenders in man schemes.

The Giants stymied the Patriots with tight man coverage across the board a few weeks ago. That may not work in this matchup. The Packer receivers are the best in the league at beating man-to-man (in part because Rodgers is a genius when it comes to back-shoulder throws). Plus, the Patriots have a horizontal passing game; the Packers are more capable at beating you vertically. One slip by a man defender can equal six points for the offense.

In all likelihood, there won’t be just one simple solution for Fewell and his men on Sunday. They’ll have to mix coverages and try different things, all the while hoping that their star-studded pass-rush can show up.

So who will win? Check our NFL expert picks for all Week 13 games

Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter or contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
Posted on: November 3, 2011 12:23 pm
Edited on: November 3, 2011 3:41 pm

Bradshaw has cracked bone, Amukamara could debut

AmukamaraPosted by Josh Katzowitz

UPDATED 2:00 p.m. ET: ESPN's Adam Schefter is claiming Bradshaw's injury might not be as serious as previously thought. Schefter tweeted the following:

"Person familar with Giants RB Ahmad Bradshaw's injury texted this: 'Not serious injury -- should play Sunday. No surgery (needed).'"

So, make of that what you will.


In a spot of very bad news, the Giants, who have been ravaged by injuries to their defense all season, now have an injury problem on offense. As in running back Ahmad Bradshaw has a cracked bone in his foot and is out indefinitely, according to the Newark Star Ledger.

Bradshaw apparently is deciding whether to have surgery. He's already had problems with his feet - in fact, he's had surgery on both of them - and he had to leave last week's game after one of the embedded screws began aggravating him.

That leaves Brandon Jacobs as the team's No. 1 running back heading into the weekend.

The Giants defense, though, has been the unit that's been hit hard by injuries this season. It might get a little healthier this week. And if Prince Amukamara can make his pro debut Sunday, we’ll get a chance to begin to see if he was worth a No. 19 overall pick in the 2011 draft. 

He was the last first-round pick to sign after a holdout, and he was the first to get injured as well, breaking his foot and requiring surgery in just his second practice with the team.

But now that Justin Tryon is out, the Giants are missing a cornerback when they face New England on Sunday. Even if Antrel Rolle knows he can handle Patriots receiver Wes Welker, New York would probably like to hedge its bets a bit and get as much secondary help as possible.

“The sense of urgency definitely is there, but I definitely don’t feel pressured by anyone,” Amukamara said, according to the Newark Star Ledger. “They’re just supporting me and telling me to get well soon and that they can use me. I’m just doing everything I can.”

Even without actually participating on the field, Amukamara has made a good early impression on his teammates, who cite his humor and his willingness to ask questions in team meetings as positive attributes.

“He is a good player,” safety Kenny Phillips said, via Rapid Reporter Alex Raskin. “You watch him in practice, he’s definitely coming along.”

Now, the Giants hope he’s far enough along to actually take the field for the first time.

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Posted on: April 1, 2011 1:26 pm

Offseason Checkup: New York Giants

Posted by Andy Benoit

E. Manning (US Presswire)

Eye on Football's playing doctor for every NFL team with our
Offseason Check-ups.

Stop me if you’ve seen this one before: very talented, much talked about Giants team gets off to a fast start. At midseason they’re 6-2 and looking like a legitimate Super Bowl contender. But in the second half, things start going south. There are rumblings about Tom Coughlin’s job security.

Moronic members of the press who only understand football on a box score level see that Eli Manning is leading the league in interceptions so, predictably, they question him. (Never mind that Manning, who had one of the best seasons of his career, was plagued by receivers’ drops and bad routes.)

There is a particularly heart-wrenching loss to the hated Eagles in Week 15 (apparently the punter not only kicked to DeSean Jackson but also singlehandedly gave up 28 points in the fourth quarter…right?), followed by what would turn out to be a playoff-hopes-slashing defeat at Green Bay the following week.

A change to consider: Antrel Rolle as the new Charles Woodson

The change here needs to be made by fans and the media. It’s time to start recognizing Rolle as the Pro Bowl caliber rover that he is. Thanks to iffy linebackers, depth at safety and a schedule that frequently pitted them against three-receiver offenses, the Giants essentially converted to a three safety starting lineup in 2010. .

Rolle filled what used to be one of the outside linebacker positions. This was done because the former cornerback has the cover skills to line up against wideouts in the slot, but also the tackling prowess to play the edge on the run. What’s more, Rolle is a terrific blitzer, which allows coordinator Perry Fewell to disguise his fronts. Sound like any particular Packer you know?

1. Middle Linebacker
Jonathan Goff is not a bad player, but there is nothing electrifying about him either. This defense has a chance to be special. You can’t be special with a banal force in the middle.

2 Receiving weapon
Steve Smith’s microfracture surgery (knee) leaves his future in doubt. The restricted free agent wideout will spend the entire offseason rehabbing and may not be ready come September. At tight end, the serviceable Kevin Boss is as tough as they come, but with the focus on vertical seam routes in Kevin Gilbride’s system, a better athlete in this spot would do wonders.

3. Center
Shaun O’Hara made the Pro Bowl last season but strictly on name recognition. The 33-year-old (34 in June) missed all but six games with various injuries. When O’Hara did return to action, he looked creaky. Time to groom a replacement.

Ladies and gentlemen….your dark horse Super Bowl contender for 2011! The Giants have a veteran star quarterback, elite rushing attack (thanks in part to a cohesive offensive line) and defense loaded with talent along the front and back fours.

And most of these players have significant playoff experience. If this team can overcome the Big Apple drama that creeps up every year, it’s as tough an out as any.

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Posted on: January 18, 2011 12:08 pm
Edited on: January 18, 2011 12:10 pm

Rolle calls Coughlin 'too uptight,' likes Rex?

Posted by Will Brinson

Antrel Rolle probably should have thought about his choice before he signed with the New York Giants. For starters, he and the media in the Big Apple go well together, but only in the sense that he's always willing to offer up a ridiculous quote.

Like his most recent comment about his coach Tom Coughlin, who he called "too uptight."

"When you're talking about the coaching side of things, do I feel like things are a little too uptight? Yeah, I do," Rolle said on WQAM in Miami, via Mike Garafalo of the New Jersey Star-Ledger. “I feel like if he just loosened up just a little bit, still run the ship the way you want to run it, still run the program the way you want to run it but let us have a little fun, because at the end of the day that's what it's all about."

If this sounds familiar, well it should. Whenever the Giants (or Jaguars!) are/were losing, Coughlin is way too strict and mean and stuff. And whenever he wins, he's figured out a way to "cut loose." Or something.

Whether that's actually what's happening, or whether everyone's just in a better mood when a team is winning, well, that's getting harder to say. But the grass is always greener on the other side. Particularly when that proverbial grass is Rex Ryan and the AFC Championship-bound New York Jets.

Fortunately, fellow safety Kenny Phillips joined Rolle on the interview to chat about the other NY coach/team.

"I would love to play for a guy like Rex," Phillips said. "He goes to bat for his players. He'll take the blame, he allows you to be you. He's not asking you to hide. If you're a guy who likes to talk, go out and talk, long as you back it up. Like ‘trel said, His guys are playing for him and I'd love to be a part of that."

There's zero chance that this sits well with Coughlin (or owner John Mara, who's throwing his confidence behind his coach). And if you think Coughlin gets cheesed off about coaching in a place where he's constantly on the hot seat, well, his reaction to his players comparing him to Rex and calling him "too uptight" should do some wonderful things for the locker room chemistry.

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Posted on: October 9, 2010 11:35 pm

Giants taking it easy with Kenny Phillips

New York has treated with K. Phillips with caution since his return from microfracture surgery on his left knee (Getty). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Originally, when Giants S Kenny Phillips returned from microfracture surgery on his left knee, coach Tom Coughlin said the team would limit his practice reps on Wednesdays as a precaution.

But this week, after he sat out Friday’s practice (following limited participation Thursday), the Giants said Phillips had sprained his MCL in the same knee that originally required surgery. The team claims this injury has nothing to do with the arthritic issue that kept him out of the final 14 games of last season.

Still, it makes sense to treat the injury with extra caution. That’s why Phillips is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against Houston.

“Conservative. That’s what I’m going to say right now; we’ve been real conservative,” Phillips said in quotes captured by the Star Ledger. “I hope to play, looking forward to playing. I’ve been watching film, doing everything and preparing to play. Looking forward to it.”

As Mike Garafolo writes:

But again, any issue in the same knee is cause for concern. Even Phillips admitted as such on Wednesday, when he said he was being limited as a precaution against re-injuring himself.

Playing with an MCL sprain could force Phillips to put more pressure on other parts of the knee, which would seemingly put him at risk of hurting his kneecap
“It could be in some cases, but in this case it’s
not, as far as I know,” Phillips said. “Talking to the trainers and everyone else, I’m pretty good... in my case, it’s pretty much nothing.”

If Phillips can’t play, look for Brian Jackson to get some snaps there. The only problem with that: aside from a week in college, Jackson has never played safety before.

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Posted on: August 8, 2010 12:24 pm

Kenny Phillips cleared to practice

Posted by Andy Benoit

Giants safety Kenny Phillips has finally been cleared to practice. The electrifying third-year pro has spent the last 11 months recovering from microfracture surgery.

Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News reports that Phillips will take the field Monday. The Giants will ease him into the swing of things and initially limit him to one practice per day. If all goes well, Phillips should be able to beat out veteran pickup Deon Grant for the starting strong safety job come September.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: July 31, 2010 4:09 pm

Quick Hit news items from the weekend

--It looks like Dwayne Jarrett will be the No. 2 receiver in Carolina this year .

--Trent Edwards opened training camp as the No. 1 quarterback in Buffalo.

--Pisa Tinoisamoa is battling Nick Roach for a starting strongside linebacker job in Chicago (both would be better on the weak side, but that’s neither here nor there.)

--Sidney Rice’s bum hip has landed him on PUP for now .

--Giants safety Kenny Phillips is also on PUP . Phillips is trying to come back from microfracture surgery that wiped out virtually all of his ’09 season.

--David Tyree and Ike Hilliard both signed contracts with the Giants so that they could retire as members of Big Blue.

--Chester Pitts finally found a home. The longtime Texan and his surgically-repaired knee signed a one-year contract with the Seahawks. Seattle runs a zone-blocking scheme that is very similar to the one Pitts worked in under Gary Kubiak in Houston.

--Derrick Burgess has upset the Patriots by not showing up for training camp. He is leaning towards retirement.

-- Andy Benoit

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Posted on: June 19, 2010 10:05 am

Examing the Giants' Safeties

The New York Giant safeties – FS Antrel Rolle; SS Kenny Phillips – believe they can be the best safety tandem in the NFL. They can, if both are healthy. But Phillips, who is coming off ’09 microfracture knee surgery, still isn’t cutting much. At his best, Phillips is perhaps a slightly faster version of the late Sean Taylor. His closing speed and pop at the point of contact are phenomenal.

Still, over the offseason, the Giants brought in veteran Deon Grant and spent a third-round pick on Chad Jones. Grant is somewhat of a journeyman plugger. He had a non-impact in Seattle – particularly when asked to stay out of the box and hold down centerfield – but in Jacksonville and Carolina, he provided consistent stability. Jones is a cover safety from LSU who is still raw. But teams generally don’t spend third-round picks on projected long-term backups.

With Phillips, the Giants are dominant at safety. Without him, they’re still more than adequate. Newcomer Antrel Rolle, a former first-round cornerback, is excellent in coverage. Versatility augments Rolle’s range (he’s capable of shadowing the slot and playing from a backpedal). Rolle is also a first-class playmaker with the ball in his hand and a deft open-field tackler.

Great safeties allow for aggressive cornerback play. New York’s trio of corners, Corey Webster, Terrell Thomas and Aaron Ross, thrived in press coverage under Steve Spagnuolo in ’08. Expect the Giants to get back to this in 2010.

--Andy Benoit

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com