Kenny Phillips adding bulk, volume

One of the guys who stood out in Friday’s OTA was second-year safety Kenny Phillips. He broke up a couple of passes and had some really good coverage on Kevin Boss along the far sideline, busting up that pass attempt. I had a chance to grab him for a few questions in the locker room after the workout and he was as confident as ever.
“I feel way more comfortable,” he said of his second year in the system. “I feel at home.”

One thing that always jumped out about Phillips is his size. But when I was standing next to him without a shirt (him, not me!) I was amazed at how much bigger he’d gotten. So, too, was he.

“Sixteen pounds since the season ended,” he said with a smile (you do the math, he was listed at 210 last year and a few weeks ago safeties coach Dave Merritt said he was weighing in at 218). “I don’t know where it came from,” Phillips added, “but I’m proud if it.”

Apparently not everyone is bashful about how much weight they've lost or gained this offseason.

Phillips may be bigger but he’s also bolder. In the secondary he’s no longer hesitant to shout out shifts in coverage or other information. Last year, as a rookie, he wasn’t very vocal on the field.

“I guess that goes with me being comfortable,” he said. “I know the guys a whole lot better. I’m just feeling more and more comfortable with myself and the guys I’m playing with.”

Phillips said he’s not a “rah-rah” yeller on the field, but he’ll occasionally do some hollering to make sure everyone is where they need to be. For the most part that role will fall to Michael Johnson this year, but Phillips said he can do it if called upon as well.

“Last year that wasn’t my role,” he said of barking commands. “I came in mostly on third downs. Butler was the guy who got everybody lined up. But I’m a starting guy now. I have to step up.”

It’s been noticed.

“Kenny Phillips has definitely surprised me this offseason as we have gone out and gone through walk throughs,” Merritt said a few weeks ago, prior to the start of OTAs. “This young man is out there yelling out the calls loudly, which he never did last year. And I don’t know if it was the just the fact of being a rookie, or whatever it may be, but he already is starting to make calls more vocally and so I’m very impressed with that and hopefully that is going to continue.”

Phillips and Johnson are starting at safety for the Giants in the offseason, but they aren’t guaranteed spots. Veteran C.C. Brown was brought in to push them for playing time. Still, Phillips considers himself a starter, a role he didn’t fill last year, even though many people expected he would as the first-round draft pick who had an impressive preseason.

“Last year I got to start a few games because Butler was hurt, but once he got back I knew it was his job,” Phillips said. “Now I feel like it’s permanent. Even though it’s in pencil right now, I’m trying to make sure it don’t get erased.”

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