|Giants S Kenny Phillips will not be on the field Sunday due to a sore right knee. (US Presswire)|
The Giants would not reveal who will start in place of Phillips. Coughlin said Stevie Brown -- who filled in after Phillips went down in Sunday’s loss to the Philadelphia Eagles -- and second-year S Tyler Sash, who is coming off a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s PED policy, are the leading candidates.
If there is a team to face ith backups in the secondary, the Cleveland Browns might be it. Browns QB Brandon Weeden has seven interceptions, one fumble and just three touchdown passes. His receivers -- Josh Cribbs (head), Mohamed Massaquoi (hamstring) and Travis Benjamin (hamstring) -- are all battling injuries.
“Don’t be misled by Cleveland’s record,” coach Tom Coughlin began Wednesday’s press conference. “They’re a good, young team."
Coughlin then rattled off how the Browns have 15 rookies and 11 second-year players seeing significant time.
“They have a rookie quarterback,” Coughlin said. “He’s 28 years old, they’re putting more on his plate each week. He’s throwing the ball over 40 times a game. They have an outstanding rusher in [Trent] Richardson. He’s very physical, that’s where the starting point is. They have a lot of skilled people in their receiver corps.”
The Giants secondary will definitely be tested. Brown performed well against the Eagles, making eight tackles, and forcing an incompletion from QB Michael Vick on one first-half blitz. The Giants didn’t have to adjust their play calling to accommodate Brown, who is in his first year with the team.
“I think Stevie Brown did a good job,” S Antrel Rolle said. “There wasn’t any setbacks and he did everything he was asked to do.”
Brown said the extended playing time gave him a confidence boost.
“I felt like I did my job," Brown said. "I had a few bad plays, but everybody else had a few bad plays. So it’s just stuff I have to correct and if I get called on again this week, I’ll be ready.”
Since Rolle was limited with a knee injury at Wednesday’s practice, Brown and Sash shared first-team reps. Sash said he "felt like a little kid on the playground.”
Rolle was impressed with Sash’s conditioning, going as far as to say that the second-year safety looked faster after dropping a few pounds. Rolle did say Sash showed some “anxiety” over being gone for four weeks, but he didn’t seem too concerned.
“Tyler's always been a great guy, you know, always been a great teammate and we don't expect anything different at this point,” Rolle said.
Osi Umenyiora on fixing the pass rush: The trio of Osi Umenyiora, Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck has 2.5 sacks so far this season, and Umenyiora told ESPN Radio he isn’t sure how to fix the problem.
“There's really no counter for it," Umenyiora said of the way opposing offenses are focused on stopping the three. "Obviously we have some injuries in our secondary so you can't commit too many people to a rush. If you don't do that then you're going to allow teams to have more time because they keep more people in to protect. So it's a very difficult situation that we're in."
Weeden has been sacked nine times this season.
Who didn’t practice? As expected, WR Ramses Barden (concussion), DT Rocky Bernard (quadriceps), C David Baas (hand), LB Michael Boley (hip), WR Hakeem Nicks (foot/knee), S Kenny Phillips (knee), RG Chris Snee (hip) and CB Corey Webster (hand) did not practice Wednesday.
Hosley told CBSSports.com that he felt good. He didn’t go full speed, but there wasn’t a setback and he isn’t yet ruled out for Sunday’s game.
Coughlin said there was some concern over Barden, but that most of his symptoms were “okay.”
Nicks could potentially practice on Thursday, which is his usual weekly schedule.
Boley said his hip has bothered him for awhile, but he hopes to be back on the field Thursday and playing Sunday.