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Signing of Rolle speaks volumes about Phillips

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Recent posts by Eric Edholm

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Posted March 06, 2010 @ 2:01 a.m. ET
By Eric Edholm

The Giants appeared upbeat on the subject of FS Kenny Phillips' health at the Indianapolis Combine. But their signing of free-agent FS Antrel Rolle late Friday suggests there might be a problem there. Now that they have the talented Rolle on the roster, what does that say about Phillips, who, like Rolle, is best as a free safety?

Head coach Tom Coughlin said Phillips was "in the early stages of coming back from a serious issue (patella femoral arthritis)" but added that "everyone is very positive and upbeat." Read closer, though, and you can see that Coughlin built in a caveat to his response on Phillips' health and what the team needs to do at safety.

"All of the reports have been good, and that's basically what we have to go on," Coughlin said. "But until he puts it to the test, of course, the questions are going to be there. I don't think I'm out of place by saying he was having an outstanding preseason, an outstanding first couple of games into the season. His return to our football team as the quality young player he was developing into is very important. He would be a great addition and a great ingredient as a part of our team, but there are other things we have to put together, as well."

GM Jerry Reese spoke the next day in Indianapolis and echoed the positive vibes, but his comment was laced with the idea that things might not work out. "Kenny's doing great," Reese said. "He's on schedule. There's no pain right now with his knee. He's got a great attitude about it. We expect him to come back and be 100 percent. I don't think you can put all your eggs in Kenny's basket right now because that's a tough injury to come back from, so we'll try to be prepared if he doesn't come back 100 percent."

Phillips and Rolle are similar players. They are big and rangy, but they are not enforcers in the run game. Rolle might be the better tackler, but he is best playing in space against the pass. Now that it has come to fruition, it will be curious to see how this signing changes the Giants' secondary.


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