The New York Giants had an integral part of their defense amputated on Saturday night when safety Stevie Brown tore his ACL. In the wake of Brown’s injury, the search for a suitable replacement has been kicked into gear and the top candidate seems to be offseason acquisition Ryan Mundy.
After intercepting a gift-wrapped pass from New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith, Brown attempted to make a cut and immediately grabbed at his left knee. A day later, the Giants learned they would be without Brown for the duration of the 2013 season.
In a matter of seconds, Mundy’s role in the Giants secondary had grown exponentially.
Trying to fill Brown’s shoes will be no easy task. He was a certified ball hawk for the Giants last season, finishing the year with eight interceptions, which was second most in the NFL.
The Giants signed Mundy in March after he spent four years with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was for an attractive target for the Giants because of his ability to play both safety spots and the fact that he was a much cheaper alternative to bringing back an injury-riddled Kenny Phillips.
Even with four years under his belt, Mundy is still a bit of a question mark. He had a reserved role in Pittsburgh, making just five career starts. However, at this time last season, Brown was in a position eerily similar to what Mundy is in now. Brown had played in just 23 games and had zero interceptions to his name prior to last year. He was simply a little-known safety trying to replace an injured starter. Sound familiar?
Pending a breakout season from Mundy, the Giants will most likely approach the hole in the secondary by committee. There is a plethora of unproven players lurking on the bench, and each one of them is going to have any opportunity to showcase their skill sets.
Sophomore Will Hill is going to get an extended opportunity after he serves a four-game suspension for marijuana use. Tyler Sash and rookie Cooper Taylor will also be looked at to contribute. Sash has played sporadically for the Giants the last two years. A week ago, he was a player fighting for a roster spot. Now he’s been handed a golden opportunity to prove his worth.
Taylor is interesting choice. He’s a 6-foot-4, fifth-round draft pick out of Richmond. That kind of size in the secondary is rare and can be lethal when accompanied by speed. Unfortunately, Taylor has battled a hamstring injury this offseason that has limited his playing time. However, he was recently cleared to resume practice.
Another option is moving a cornerback like Terrell Thomas over to safety. Thomas is trying to re-acclimate himself into football after tearing his ACL in back-to-back years. He looked solid on Saturday, his first game action since 2011, but will he be able to return to Terrell Thomas circa 2010? It’s way too early to tell, and the Giants coaching staff won’t want to push him too much early on.
There have been police interrogations with less questions than what the Giants are facing. With any hope, they will get some answers on Thursday during their final preseason game against the New England Patriots, which will now serve as an audition for the safeties. The only difference that is nobody is going to say “break a leg.”