- Matt Ehalt, ESPN New York contributor
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New York Giants safety Stevie Brown has been named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week after recording two interceptions and a fumble recovery in the 29-24 win over Dallas. He’s the second Giant to win the award this season, joining fellow safety Antrel Rolle.
“It’s a great accomplishment to receive but it’s just a week,” Brown said.
Brown had perhaps the best game of his season on Sunday as he intercepted Dallas quarterback Tony Romo in the first and fourth quarters, and also recovered a fumble late in the fourth that led to a field goal that put the Giants up 29-24. Brown had eight tackles on the day, tied for his most of the season.
"He’s been the guy who has been able to be on the spot and anticipate. He obviously has a very good knack for (being near the ball)," Giants head coach Tom Coughlin said Monday. “He’s done a very good job, he’s being recognized by all of us, and has been a huge factor in our being able to win a few games in a row.”
The safety leads the NFL in takeaways with seven, and has been playing outstanding since having to start for the injured Kenny Phillips in the secondary. In the four games Phillips has missed, Brown has four interceptions and the Giants have gone 4-0. He has 21 tackles in that stretch.
Phillips, who has a sprained knee, practiced last week but ultimately did not travel to Dallas. Giants coach Tom Coughlin said Phillips will work this week in an attempt to return, but the team will make sure to keep Brown involved even if Phillips is back. Brown leads the Giants with five picks, the most by a Giants safety since 1999.
“Stevie Brown has had an outstanding run here,” Coughlin said. “What we’ve got to do -- my position has always been the more outstanding football players the better. We’ll find ways to involve all of them and we’re still on track trying to make sure that Kenny’s ready to go but he’s looking forward to practicing this week. We look forward to the addition of another outstanding player.”
Brown said he’s not sure about Phillips’ status for this week, but acknowledged Phillips being the starter could relegate him back to the bench, even though he’s coming off an award-winning week. Brown added he's OK with whatever role the Giants will find for him in the upcoming weeks, even if it’s off the bench.
The third-year player has 25 tackles and five pass deflections on the year.
“If that’s my role, then that’s my role,” Brown said of being a backup again. “I'm just here to do what I can to help.”
The Giants signed Brown to a one-year deal in the offseason and have gotten more than they ever could have hoped for halfway through the regular season. When asked about renegotiating his deal in light of his recent award, Brown didn’t say much.
“That’s not my job to do, that’s my agent’s job to do,” Brown said. “So I mean we’ll see.”