With the lockout firmly in the past, the gridiron drums have started beating again for the Giants. And Kenny Phillips is still trying to find the beat.
Now a full year removed from the knee injury that cost him most of the 2009 season, the medical and legal interruptions of the past two years have cost Phillips a chance at developing consistency.
“I don’t want to miss any kind of practice, no games,” Phillips said at training camp on Monday. “As far as missing that whole year, then the whole lockout, I definitely need to get back into a rhythm as far as playing football.”
Phillips, who’s being penciled in as a starting safety this season, said he understands that, with the loss of offseason workouts and mini camps, the team hasn’t had a chance to look at all of its new personnel. But he noted the veteran’s need to get back in the groove is equally important.
“At the same time, just like they want to get those guys evaluated, we need to knock some of this dust off, this rust off,” he said.
Overall, Phillips said he believes in the chemistry of the secondary, though the unit is looking to make strides from its 2010 performance. Rookie Tyler Sash has been getting more opportunities in camp and Phillips said he’s been impressed by what he’s seen so far, adding he thinks Sash will get a “fair shot” at breaking camp as the third safety.
“He’s doing great,” Phillips said. “He’s really showing he’s capable of playing on this level. He’s been in a position that he’s made some big time hits. I’m looking forward to seeing him play.”
But while Sash could be a potentially nice addition, the group has already felt the pain of subtraction after rookie corner Prince Amukamara broke his left foot early in camp. Now, the secondary is just trying to keep Amukamara thinking positive as he rehabs.
“We’re gonna try to keep him confident and motivated,” he said. “But he’s got a great spirit. He’s just a happy guy, so he’s not down at all.”