A safety on a gun ensures the bullet stays in the chamber rendering no harm. The Giants’ safety tandem of Kenny Phillips and Deon Grant must keep the Eagles’ bullets, most notably DeSean Jackson in a place where he can inflict no harm.
The Eagles love to go deep with DeSean Jackson and who wouldn’t? He may be the fastest man in football and certainly one of the most exciting. The one difference between these two football teams may be #10.
Phillips and Grant have been stalwarts in the Giants’ secondary this season but now is when the rubber meets the road. The 2 safeties have very little room for error and must perform at a very high level. No missed tackles, bad pursuit angles or morphing into a greyhound chasing the rabbit. I am not suggesting they must assume all the responsibility in curtailing the Eagles’ designs for big plays but Phillips and Grant cannot hand out any gifts. This is a time when one or both can be the impact player(s) that teams need in this type of contest.
So what is to be done to lessen Jackson’s impact on the upcoming game? The Giants must be in position to hit and hit often. Safeties, linebackers, linemen and corners must harass Jackson at every opportunity. They cannot allow free releases from the line, and when DeSean makes a catch he must be crushed. He is allusive and fast which only heightens the challenge, but for the Giants to prevail they must neutralize Mr. Jackson. Jackson must be a marked man.
This may be the biggest challenge the Giants’ safeties will have faced all year and certainly the most critical. Not only must they maintain depth in relation to Jackson but they also need to support a running attack that victimized the G-Men last time out. Their mantra must be “stay alert and do not get fooled”. This is not an exercise for the faint of heart and at 6’1″ and 6’2″ over 200 lbs., respectively, I don’t think they are shrinking violets. I do hope they did their homework.
The Giants have some weapons of their own. Their ability to provide pressure with a 4 man pass rush is perhaps their greatest asset for that allows 7 in coverage and the ability to double DeSean. Pressuring Michael Vick into quick throws and using confusing defenses will go far in mitigating the big play ability of Jackson. But without stellar safety play, all will be for naught.
The stage is set. The gun is loaded and the trigger cocked. Kenny Phillips and Deon Grant are the two formidable and physical objects capable of disarming the dangerous Eagles’ vertical offense. On a gun the safety is activated by a simple push of the thumb. Giants’ safeties need to be activated by Perry Fewell with the same ease and effectiveness.