Stevie Brown was the NFC defensive player of the week after he came up with two interceptions and a fumble recovery in the Giants’ 29-24 win over the Cowboys, but he might not be one of the team’s starting safeties this week.
Antrel Rolle practiced on Thursday, which indicates he passed the first set of tests mandated by the league as part of its concussion protocol. Rolle was injured near the end of the Cowboys game when he landed on his head while trying to break up a pass intended for Dez Bryant near the sideline. Rolle was limited in practice and he’ll still need to pass more tests to get cleared for a full return to action.
If Rolle is deemed ready to go, he could find himself paired up with Kenny Phillips. Phillips has missed the last four games while recovering from a sprained MCL, but he started practicing last week and has been able to do enough since then to make him plenty confident about his chances of playing this weekend.
“I’m going this week. I do feel confident in my knee,” Phillips said. “It’s been a long, long process. I feel like it’s good enough for me to get back out there and make some plays.”
With Brown in reserve, the Giants have no need to push either of their safeties back into the lineup any faster than necessary. And if all three are good to go, defensive coordinator Perry Fewell will have plenty of options to use in an attempt to stop Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers.