AP Photo - Hans Pennink
Aug. 9: In one of the most-anticipated returns to practice in years, super safety Kenny Phillips got back on the field for the first time in close to a full year. While his snaps were limited to a dozen, Phillips was still able to show a little of exactly why he’s such an important piece of this New York Giants defense.
“I was impressed,” secondary/safeties coach Dave Merritt said. “Seeing him back there was really nice. Phillips is like another little early Christmas present.”
“It felt great,” a smiling Phillips said afterward. “It felt real good. I was really looking forward to it. It’s been almost 11, 12 months since I’ve played football and it felt real good to be back out there with my teammates.”
Phillips’ teammates were obviously plenty happy to have him back as well.
“He was like a kid in the candy store,” Antrel Rolle said. “He’s as key a part of this team as anyone. He’s Superman. I know he feels like Superman.”
“I feel like Clark Kent right now – I’m working on putting back on that cape,” Phillips laughed.
The most noticeable play of Phillips’ first day back came when he dove to try to knock away a pass.
“I wasn’t thinking about my knee when I hit the ground,” he said, “I was just trying to make a play. I was trying to get everything. Most of the time I was in, they ran the ball. I was hoping they’d throw it and when they did, I was just running all over the field trying to get that.”
Fellow safety Deon Grant knows that Phillips’ return helps the defense tremendously.
“He’s got great range, he can come down and hit and he’s got a mind on him,” Grant said. “When you’ve got that, then you’ve got a great safety.”
A great safety that all parties involved hope will be ready and able to rejoin the starting lineup by opening day.
Close call: The Giants and LG Rich Seubert breathed a sigh of relief when it was learned that he wouldn’t need surgery on his broken left hand.
Bearish market: TE Bear Pascoe continued to impress with two outstanding catches during the morning session. He reached over Rolle to catch an Eli Manning pass on a deep seam route. Then he out-jumped Bryan Kehl to catch a pass from Rhett Bomar.
“He did well today,” Tom Coughlin said. “He had a couple of catches and he’s a tough kid. You know he keeps coming right back.”
Breakout workout: WR Ramses Barden probably had the finest practice of his two-camp Giants tenure in the evening practice. He made a number of outstanding catches, notably a leaping grab over cornerback Aaron Ross.
“I definitely feel it coming along,” he said. “I’m starting to be more patient. There are just certain things I need to remember each play – go through my thought process and take advantage of what I see and what I know each play.
“I've got high expectations for the whole group, but myself especially.”