"We'd like to settle in and make sure that however we decide we're going to play the game, that the individual who hasn't had that much experience back there does understand how to communicate, and exactly what we want from him in his position, and what his responsibilities are," Coughlin said.
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The two likeliest candidates are Stevie Brown, who replaced Phillips early in Sunday's game, or Tyler Sash, who returned from a four-game suspension this week. Both received reps with the first unit in Wednesday's practice (partly due to Antrel Rolle, the other starting safety, being limited with his own knee injury).
"It's good to be back out there with my guys and teammates," Sash said. "I'm like a little kid on the playground. I get to go out and play again."
Sash has never started a game. Brown started one with Oakland in 2010. Brown would seem to have the edge on the job Sunday after a solid performance against the Eagles.
"He's prepared well, he's practiced well and when game time comes, we're very confident that he's going to get the job done," Rolle said.
Cribbs: No fear
Browns wide receiver Josh Cribbs was cleared to practice Wednesday for the first time since a scary helmet-jarring hit on a kickoff return knocked him unconscious in last week's game against the Ravens. Cribbs has only watched one replay of the hit, he said, and noted that he's not afraid of being tackled in the Giants game.
"I love getting hit and I love giving hits," Cribbs told reporters in Cleveland. "It's not something you can teach. I'm just not scared."
Michael Boley missed practice with a hip injury he said has been bothering him for several weeks. "Just rest it a little bit and get it a little bit better," he said of the reason for sitting out. He said he expects to practice Thursday . . . David Baas, whose swollen hand led to two botched shotgun snaps on Sunday, missed practice but expects to practice Thursday.