Monday, August 26, 2013
One New Free Agent the Redskins Should Sign Immediately
Veteran safety Kenny Phillips has been released by the Philadelphia Eagles. (http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/08/25/eagles-release-kenny-phillips/) Phillips, during his brief time with the Eagles, reportedly struggled with the same knee issues that have plagued him his whole career. When the ex-Giant did finally get on the field, he failed to distinguish himself against the humble competition he faced at the safety position. Due to his poor showing in Philly's training camp, many pro football observers doubt that any other teams will be lining up to procure his services and this will likely be the final chapter in a once promising career derailed by injuries. However, I can think of at least one team that would benefit from the former Miami Hurricane's presence; my own Washington Redskins! Here are four reasons why the 'Skins should waste no time in pursuing their one time division foe.
1. Intel: It's common practice in the NFL for a team to pick up a recently released player from a team looming on their schedule. Often, a player is signed just for the sole reason of having their brain picked ahead of the match up, then released again. Signing Phillips could give the Washington coaching staff some insight into the goings on of the new Chip Kelly regime in the City of Brotherly Love in preparation for the season opener. His familiarity with the Giants' organization, the only team he's ever played for prior to this offseason, is an added bonus as well.
2. Depth: It's no secret one of the Redskins biggest weaknesses is their secondary. They used the draft to infuse some talent into this unit, but the season ending injury to rookie safety Phillip Thomas has exacerbated this problem. At his best, Kenny Phillips is a ballhawking center fielder type who would be the 'Skins best option at safety in terms of defending the pass. Again, if he was fully healthy. Fully healthy now he is surely not, but with exciting rookie Bacarri Rambo and fellow former 'Cane and training room frequenter Brandon Meriweather seemingly entrenched as the starters, Phillips could begin in a reserve role, perhaps getting on the field in certain passing situations, as he regains strength and confidence in his knee. Even if he never quite regains his former form, 75% of the old Kenny Phillips would still represent an upgrade to Washington's secondary depth.
3. Still Upside with No Risk: For a six year vet that has gone through so many ups and downs in his career, Phillips is still just 26 years old. Furthermore, the concern over whether he will ever be able to recapture his past play may be a bit overblown. His best season came in 2011 where he was a key to the Giants' defense, playing in all but one game, intercepting four passes and playing a big part in the New York's unlikely Super Bowl run. This breakout performance came less than two years removed from Phillips undergoing micro-fracture knee surgery, one of the most career jeopardizing procedures an athlete can have. He has struggled with other heath issues since then, but none of these issues come close to as traumatic as what he has already overcome. In the wake of getting cut by a team sorely in need of help at safety, it doesn't seem likely he will ever play at that 2011 level again, but given his history, I wouldn't bet against it. For the Redskins, the opportunity to buy low on a relatively young player with Pro Bowl caliber talent at their position of most dire need seems too good to pass up. Phillips' next team may have to be patient with him though, and it's unknown at this point whether Washington would be willing or able to do accommodate him.
4. Big Game/ Playoff/ Super Bowl Experience: The Redskins are a young team, fresh off their first division crown in over a decade, and eager to establish themselves as legitimate perennial contenders. The presence of veteran players who have played on the game's biggest stages is invaluable to such an up and coming team that relies heavily on young talent. The signing of Phillips would bring his extensive postseason experience accrued while in New York to a team that sorely needs it. Even if Phillips struggles to make an impact on the field, the perspective he has gained from going through the extremest of highs and lows in his short NFL career could aid in the development of the highly counted on youth in the Redskins secondary. This boon, along the other many intangible factors, is, in my opinion, reason enough for the Redskins to take a chance on Kenny Phillips. Whether they actually will or not, only time will tell. Hail!