The loss of Stevie Brown to a torn ACL is a huge blow to the New York Giants defense. Brown led the Giants in interceptions last season with eight and added two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries to go along with 11 passes defensed and 76 tackles. Brown was a bright spot in a secondary that had few of them last season. However, the Giants will be able to overcome Brown’s absence.
Prior to last season Brown had the look of a career journeyman. He was a seventh round pick by the Oakland Raiders in 2010 where he played sparingly as a rookie across 15 games. In 2011, he latched on with the Indianapolis Colts and appeared in eight games. When he signed with the Giants prior to last season he looked like someone who would be a depth piece or a special teams player. Brown, however, had other ideas and quickly asserted himself into the lineup where he always seemed to be in the right place at the right time.
With Brown out the Giants will turn to Ryan Mundy to help fill the void. Mundy comes with a similar pedigree as Brown did. Mundy was a sixth round pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2008. He didn’t see game action until 2009 and has appeared in 16 games every year since as a backup safety. He has one career interception and 130 combined tackles across 64 games.
Last season, Brown was given an opportunity to shine when Kenny Phillips went down with an injury. Now, Mundy, 28, will finally get a chance to show what he can do because of Brown’s injury. Mundy wa probably going to see quite a bit of playing time in defensive coordinator Perry Fewell’s defensive schemes that like to feature three safeties at times. Now, he will be asked to do even more.
The safety position has not been kind to the Giants this season. Antrel Rolle just returned to practice after suffering a sprained ankle but he might not be ready for game action until Week 1. Will Hill is suspended for the first four games for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. Rookie Cooper Taylor missed a good portion of training camp with a pulled hamstring.
The Giants will have to hope Mundy is ready to step into a bigger role like Brown was last year. He seems up to the task. Nobody will be asking Mundy to lead the team in interceptions like Brown did, that would be unfair. However, Mundy can still have as much of an impact on the defense simply by playing his game.