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Stevie Brown and the safety position

Milton : 7/22/2013 5:17 pm
I posted a comment in Eric's DB thread and I think I also posted something about it in another thread a week or so ago, but nobody seems to be responding to my questions, which concern the plan to start Brown at strong safety.

I get that everyone wants to see Rolle play his so-called natural position of free safety and Brown playing his so-called natural position of strong safety (given his size and speed), but didn't Brown have all his success playing free safety? Didn't he get passed from team to team as a strong safety?

As a strong safety, he was a journeyman who was looked upon as a special teams contributor and career backup, but when he was forced into the role of free safety because of the injury to Phillips, he was suddenly Mr. Playmaker out there. So is it smart to return him to the position where he had previously underwhelmed in stints with the Raiders, Panthers, and Colts?

When Merritt praised him for...
“His film study and understanding that the post safety plays at a certain depth and the post safety has to be able play between a certain parts of the field. I am very impressed with Stevie and I truly believe that he can continue making those types of plays for us.”
...was he not talking about the free safety position?

I always thought it was odd that the Giants had Rolle at strong safety and Phillips at free, but I think it comes down to intelligence/instincts. The strong safety has to think and react faster than the free safety because he is closer to the line of scrimmage and needs to diagnose run or pass almost immediately upon the snap of the ball. The free safety is further from the LOS and has more time to read what direction the play is going. He doesn't have to "guess" as much as the strong safety does.

I believe this is why the Giants preferred Phillips at free and Rolle at strong even though everything about their body type and athletic ability suggested the opposite. So my question is: why wouldn't the same dynamic put Rolle once again at strong and Brown at free, especially given Brown's success playing centerfield?
I was under the impression that the Giants  
Ten Ton Hammer : 7/22/2013 5:18 pm : link
defense does not adhere to the traditional textbook roles of Strong and Free safety.
Alternative hypothesis:  
Big Blue Blogger : 7/22/2013 5:46 pm : link
The Giants liked Kenny Phillips as the single-high safety (when they had one) because he was really, really good at it, and because his presence deterred QBs from testing the deep middle. Far from being slow to read, as the OP suggests, Phillips was almost always in the right place.

By contrast, Stevie Brown was a constant target. Because he saw so much action, he made a lot of plays, and gave up a lot of plays.

None of this is meant to denigrate Brown's 2012 season. He was far better than anyone could have reasonably expected. But was he better than a healthy Kenny Phillips? No.

I guess it's reasonable to ask whether he's better, up high, than Antrel Rolle. My guess is that Rolle, if he had the job full-time, would be the better free safety. But the Giants play so much two-deep and three-deep zone that it might not matter much.
Milton : 7/22/2013 5:56 pm : link
The Giants like their safeties to know both free and strong, just in case they have to adjust to the offense on the fly, but they do distinguish between the two in terms of responsibilities. Whether they play one deep, two deep, or three deep defends on down and distance, not to mention the score at the time and time remaining.

BBB-- I disagree with you about Phillips, but this thread is not about him, so I don't want to open up that particular can of worms which have already been trampled to death.
Have the Giants said that's the plan  
Bino5 : 7/22/2013 6:46 pm : link
Better than a healthy Phillips?  
Randy in CT : 7/22/2013 6:59 pm : link
I don't even recall what that's like. Denigrating Brown in any way leaves me wondering where our expectations should be.
Talent is talent. Rolle has talent. Therefore can play either  
Marty in Albany : 7/22/2013 7:13 pm : link
free or strong Safety.

IF Brown has the talent to play free Safety, then he has the talent to play strong Safety, too.

Some people have posted that Brown played poorly last year, but was just lucky. If that is true, then I would expect him to play poorly regardless of where he plays this season. However, the Giants seem to have penciled Brown in as the starter, so they must feel that he is going to do a good job at strong Safety.

I think that it is a bit premature to second-guess the Giants coaches this early in the year.
Should be: therefore HE can play  
Marty in Albany : 7/22/2013 7:14 pm : link
I think that they will be used in a similar fashion  
BSIMatt : 7/22/2013 7:20 pm : link
as they were last year. I'm not sure the Giant's are going to revert to putting role back as a deep safety. I think they like him up closer, as a possible man cover player against slot WRs and TEs. As productive as Brown was, I don't think he'd hold up in man coverage from the slot area as well as Rolle.
I like Brown  
Johnny5 : 7/22/2013 8:38 pm : link
And he certainly made some huge plays for us, but a healthy Kenny Phillips made the Giants defense a much better defense.
A healthy Kenny Phillips seems unrealistic at this point  
Vin_Cuccs : 7/22/2013 8:44 pm : link
Selifishly Vin  
Johnny5 : 7/22/2013 9:09 pm : link
I sure hope so. Because it would suck to have lost him if he regains his health and form.
I think Rolle's a CB  
RetroJint : 7/23/2013 7:03 am : link
Regardless of what you think of that opinion, what is unquestionably true is that he is terrible in deep-safety responsibilities. Problem: He takes lousy pursuit angles. Against both the pass and run. Much better in close coverage, hand-to-hand combat. That type of thing. The game in San Francisco last season was an anomaly for Rolle in the sense that he did play well handling conventional safety responsibilities. He's one of the more talented players on the Giants D. They need to feature him in his strengths.
If all these guys are so good  
WideRight : 7/23/2013 7:45 am : link
why is has the pass defense been so bad?
BCD : 7/23/2013 8:06 am : link
lack of pass rush....qb had time to sit the pocket drink a cup of coffee,news the sports section,fart twice and release to wide open WR's.
I disagree BCD  
87giants91 : 7/23/2013 8:27 am : link
I think they only farted once
Stevie Brown  
mrvax : 7/23/2013 8:41 am : link
needs a lot of work. If he doesn't improve his coverage skills he'll be back to specials. Yes, he's a ball hawk. He needs to get better at coverage to where he can be trusted.

IDK Milton why the Giants would want Brown at SS unless they think he can play that fine but needs more at FS.
I tend to agree with mrvax on S. Brown. Show me. Brown is not a solid  
Victor in CT : 7/23/2013 9:35 am : link
all around safety. He is effective in passing situations when he is free to roam and be a ball hawk. I wouldn't count on 8 picks again.
Josh in the City : 7/23/2013 9:43 am : link
I was under the impression that the Giants
Ten Ton Hammer : 7/22/2013 5:18 pm
defense does not adhere to the traditional textbook roles of Strong and Free safety.

Instead, they adhere to the concept of, "Let's allow the opposing WR's to continuously beat us deep."

But seriously, we need significantly better play out of our defense this season and our safeties/secondary need to do a better job than they have the past few seasons.
Blogger is actually correct regarding KP  
JonC : 7/23/2013 3:22 pm : link
The coaches trusted his ability to read plays from single high, and to not take the risks that Rolle tends to take in the deeper thirds downfield.

KP wasn't the same playermaker or athlete post-knee, but he was solid and graded pretty well from what I gathered.

NYG doesn't typically stick with traditional free and strong safety roles, so there's a mix and match element where they deploy based on player strengths, and Fewell definitely prefers Rolle close to the LOS where his physicality and ability to find passing lanes is more disruptive on a play by play basis.
which is reinforced by PF's coaching philosophy to force turnovers  
JonC : 7/23/2013 3:24 pm : link
better chance of doing so with Rolle up.
Hey guys, I heard you're worried about the safety position  
giantgiantfan : 7/23/2013 6:52 pm : link

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