|Safety Kenny Phillips, who has been recovering from a knee injury, practiced Wednesday and could be game-ready soon. (US Presswire)|
Giants S Kenny Phillips (knee) and LB Jacquian Williams (knee) both practiced on Wednesday, which means the defense could be getting a much-needed boost for the final six games of the season, beginning with Sunday's game against the Packers.
Both players were limited, but the fact that they were on the field was an encouraging sign.
Williams' declined interviews after practice, but Phillips said he did nearly everything, which means the Giants could potentially return to the three-safety formation, which was used for long stretches of last season.
“It allows us to put more packages in, it allows us to move a lot of guys around, allows us to show different looks that offenses haven't seen us with yet,” DE Justin Tuck said of Phillips' possible return. "As a D-lineman you know that guy can make the big play. There's a lot of things he can do back there on that back end that other guys can't. We get an opportunity to get back to some of our three-safety look, kind of what we did last year. It gives us a lot more options back there.''
If the Giants do use the three-safety look, Phillips would be joined by S Antrel Rolle and S Stevie Brown, who has five interceptions, most of which came since Phillips went down in Week 4 with a sprained MCL.
Brown did make a coverage mistake against the Bengals in Week 10 that led to a touchdown, but he has mostly played well in place of Phillips.
The Giants could also use S Will Hill in the three-safety formation.
Phillips said he had “good day” on Wednesday but still doesn't “feel 100 percent.” However, he thinks that he could be close if he can improve a little every day this week.
Linval Joseph has a swollen knee: He wouldn't specify which knee was swollen, but the third-year defensive tackle sat out Wednesday's practice. He hopes to return Thursday, but there's no telling how much the swelling will go down.
Joseph has performed well against the Packers in the past, racking up 17 tackles in three games.
Contain Aaron Rodgers: One of the biggest objectives for the Giants will be keeping the Packers' quarterback in the pocket. Rogers had 98 yards on 11 carries in two games against New York last season, and he was particularly dangerous when throwing on the run.
“The receivers, they work the scramble drill supposedly every day,” MLB Chase Blackburn said. “From the guys I've talked to, the guys that have been in that program, said they work the scramble drill every single day, where, as soon as the pass protection breaks down, he gets outside the pocket, [they know] where to go.”
Clay Matthews sits: LB Clay Matthews (hamstring) sat out Wednesday's Packers practice. Coach Mike McCarthy said the pass rusher is "doubtful" for Sunday's game, but Giants coach Tom Coughlin isn't buying it.
"He's in," Coughlin said. "That's the plan. That's the way we approach it. He's in. I'll tell you, the other kids that have played for him, they played pretty well."
Who didn't practice on Wednesday: Joseph, RB Ahmad Bradshaw (foot) and WR Domenik Hixon (ankle) were the only Giants who did not practice at all on Wednesday. Phillips and Williams were limited, as was WLB Keith Rivers (bruised knee).