The Giants went out of their way to point out that Rolle was not signed because of Philips’ injury.
“The idea that this is associated with the Kenny Phillips situation is incorrect,” Coach Tom Coughlin 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. We needed to really solidify and help the safety position based on last year’s experience. That’s the reason this objective was so important to us.”
If we simply take Coughlin at his word, then this would obviously be fantastic. But anyone with any knowledge of football has to understand that the one thing consistently done in football is for teams not to disclose the extent of injuries. The Giants were mum on Phillips for weeks during preseason and then only let on that this would be “a season-long issue“ when the season began/after Washington. Why? Because just as in poker, you can never let the opponent know precisely what is in your hand. It is best for them to think that you are playing with no weaknesses. Then they will not know whether to trade up in front of you for that Safety or not when the draft Rolles around.
Last August/September, the Giants were desperately thin before Phillips’ knee. You know that Reese was on the prowl for any Safety with 2 legs and a pulse at that point. He did not need the extent of Phillip’s knee disclosed any more than necessary.
None of us are Doctors. We can speculate all day and all night about Phillips’ knee. What we do know about microfracture surgery is this:
1) It’s chances for success are anything but a lock.
2) The chances for success go up for players in their 20′s compared to players in their 30′s.
3) A year or two after coming back, a player can lose the gains that were initially made.
What are the Giants going to say at this point? I remember very well the Bears preseason game this past August. On one play I saw Jay Alford’s knee turned into a pretzel and feared the worst. The Giants said it was a sprain, but we said to hold on, wait for confirmation… because we did not believe the “sprain” diagnosis. The point is that when it comes to injuries, you never get the complete story. Look at Brandon Jacobs this past year- he was hurt in WEEK 1! If Phillips is making a great comeback, fantastic, but all we are saying here is that ANYTHING is possible whenever they talk about these things. If Phillips is 100% the Giants should STILL grab a Safety high in this draft, even AFTER Rolle. That is how depleted they are here. So if I was running the team, publicly I’d be saying how wonderful Phillips is whether he is or isn’t. That is Poker 101.
Summary: It will be great when Phillips is recovered and playing well this summer. The Giants (/all NFL teams) have never been completely forthcoming on injuries and we should never assume what they say is correct. Draft a Safety high this April regardless of Phillips’ progress.