Last year the New York Giants were pleasantly surprised by the play of safety Stevie Brown who went from journeyman to star as he led the Giants in interceptions with eight and ranked fourth with 76 tackles. Brown also forced two fumbles and recovered two fumbles. It was exactly what the Giants needed. Now, the question is, is this what Brown is capable of moving forward or was it just a fluke?
It would be easy to say Brown’s season was just an aberration considering he never had an interception prior to last year. However, Brown did benefit from the schemes defensive coordinator Perry Fewell employs and was able to jump routes often. Brown struggled at times in coverage but excelled at being in the right place at the right time which is somewhat expected, or even desired, in safeties.
Is it likely that Brown will repeat last year’s performance? Not at all. Is it possible? Certainly. He proved that last year. However, heading into the 2013 season Brown will be asked to shoulder a good part of the load in the secondary from the get-go. Last season Brown wasn’t asked to be a starter until Kenny Phillips went down with an injury. This year he will be replacing Phillips in the starting rotation unless Will Hill has a phenomenal camp and forces the Giants to start him.
The Giants will enter the 2013 season with Brown and Antrel Rolle as the starting safeties with Tyler Sash, Hill and Ryan Mundy fighting for playing time behind them. There will be pressure to perform with so many guys breathing down Brown’s neck. It is known that the coaching staff loved what they saw from Hill last season and is expecting him to have an increased role in the defense this season. Brown won’t have to grab eight picks this season but he will have to show that he can play against the run and at the very least hold his own in coverage.
The Giants defense is best when Brown is jumping routes and flying to the ball. The onus is on Brown to prove last season wasn’t a fluke. We have seen he has the talent to perform at a high level and completely turn a game around. Hopefully, Giants fans see last season’s version of Brown. Of course, there is always this question: what if Brown is only beginning to scratch the surface and will only get better?