People had reasons to smile when the Chicago Bears got their first preseason win but it came with a bitter taste. While the team awaits news on the latest injuries to their safeties, could they make a run at New York Giants surprise Kenny Phillips?
Chris Conte and Brandon Hardin injuries limit Bears defense
There was no reason to think the Bears defense played poorly against the Washington Redskins. In fact the only touchdown surrendered by Chicago in the first half came on a punt return. Otherwise the part of the game that mattered clearly belonged to the Bears. Still things didn't go as many hoped. Yes the Bears wanted to win but more importantly they had hoped to escape the game without injuries. Sadly that is too much to ask for in the NFL. The biggest blows for Chicago came on defense where starting safety Chris Conte injured his shoulder. He left the stadium with his arm in a sling. Worse yet backup safety Brandon Hardin led with his head on a tackle in the second half and got carted off the field as a precaution. Thankfully reports came in he had full use of his arms and legs. Either way this leaves the Chicago secondary very thin at safety. That isn't a great feeling with the NFC North division stacked with high-powered offenses like Green Bay and Detroit. The team hopes the injuries aren't serious but if they are should the team try to go get some help?
Phillips thinks he and Antrel Rolle can help Giants D a different way
Most football fans remember Kenny Phillips making some key plays during the New York Giants playoff run last season that ended in a championship. Together he and teammate Antrel Rolle kept the defense afloat after a rash of injuries struck the corners. However with most of them back healthy Phillips has become at odds with Giants coaches about how he should play in 2012. Namely he thinks he can serve the team better playing similar to All-Pro Ed Reed, sitting down in the tackle box where he can help keep offenses from creating big plays. While it sounds good in theory some other people look a little deeper into why Phillips might say that. The young safety is a free agent after this season and making more plays down in the box would certainly pump up his stats. Better stats usually mean higher dollar amounts. New York has a history on not overpaying for players regardless of that. Ask Osi Umenyiora. So that could mean the Giants won't bring him back next year, or if they have depth might even trade him. Chicago runs a similar 4-3 defense as New York and needs a safety that can make plays. Phillips isn't the first choice but at a fair price could really help the Bears if their own players are hurt worse than some think.
Chris Conte and Brandon Hardin aren't out of the game yet but the Chicago Bears can't afford to take gambles in a playoffs-or-bust season. If they can't go, then an aggressive push for Kenny Phillips from the New York Giants might settle the defense down.