Antrel Rolle and Kenny Phillips both playing safety in the same secondary? How good a tandem will that be?
"The best in the league," Rolle said. "Hands down."
The Giants believe they can play Rolle and Phillips together even though both probably are better suited to be free safeties. Rather than those roles of free and strong safety, the two instead will be more like a left and right safety. "Interchangeable'' is the word being used by the Giants.
"Both safeties will find themselves in the half [covering half the field], in the middle of the field, down at the line of scrimmage, being involved in covering the slot,'' coach Tom Coughlin said. "Both safeties will be interchangeable in terms of their ability to be multifunctional. Both safeties will be involved in the pressure package."
Assuming that both safeties are healthy, that is. Phillips missed nearly all of the 2009 season after being diagnosed with an arthritic condition in his knee and having microfracture surgery. He is scheduled to begin running for the first time at the end of the month.
Many saw the Giants' pursuit of Rolle as a red flag on Phillips' recovery. Not so, Coughlin said. "The idea that this is associated with the Kenny Phillips situation is incorrect," he said. "We needed to answer some questions in terms of the safety position. This move puts us in a position now where we feel this can be a really strong part of our team."
Rolle said he and Phillips spoke often during the last month. They'll be even closer now, he said, as they push each other. "It's going to be up to us to establish that relationship and that chemistry to make sure we're on the same page and to make sure we're all one within this secondary," Rolle said. "The sky's the limit for us. We're definitely going to go out there and make things happen."