A quick, reactionary look to the news that Phillips has been placed on Injured Reserve.
Jermaine Phillips was a free agent at the end of 2008. After testing the market and not finding an offer or suitor that appealed to him, the Bucs offered him a one year "prove it" deal. I was a little surprised that he garnered virtually no interest on the open market. He's still young for a defensive back, having turned 30 this year. He has an injury history, but for someone who flies around, it would seem he could have been a viable replacement somewhere.
Well, here we are in September of 2009 and Phillips didn't even make it out of the first month.
He entered the league in 2002 as a rookie out of Georgia. He was on the Super Bowl team, though he didn't play much. Excluding 2009, over the next six seasons, Phillips would play a full slate of games only once, in 2006. Discounting the rookie season and this year, he averaged 13 games a year, with an average of 12 starts a year.
The knock on Phillips has been tackling (missed tackle stats are not kept) and durability. I wondered how he compared to his peers at the strong safety position.
I went to NFL.com and sorted all players by position type and focused on strong safeties. I pulled eight starting strong safeties over the last few years to see how many games they played on average. I won't include their rookie year unless they started over 10 games and I won't include 2009 as it is not a completed season. (It should be noted that the players I picked were those listed at SS on NFL.com and those that I knew had been in the league longer than 3 years)
These are games played with games started in parenthesis
Marquand Manuel - 15.29 (7.43)
Troy Polamalu - 14.66 (14.4)
Bob Sanders - 9.75 (9.75)
Roy L. Williams - 14 (13.57)
Chris Hope - 15.2 (12.5)
Adrian Wilson - 14.57 (14.29)
Mike Brown - 11.11 (11)
Renaldo Hill - 13.71 (11.71)
Flip falls right in that range. Very few players see a full season. It could be a product of the position. Usually brought into the box and moving forward at the tackle, perhaps this sees an increase in injury. Strong safeties are also seen as the "big hitters' on the team, and I would fathom a guess that the more violent the pursuit or collision, the higher the likelihood of injury opportunity.
This may be it for Phillips in Tampa. But as a fan I'm weary and would warn others that if his performance isn't up to your standards, that's one thing, but to knock his durability. Well, he falls right in line with these other eight players. With no real depth at safety, we either roll the dice with Sabby next year, bring Flip back, or draft a game changer (which seems to be the most popular opinion. Personally, I'd rather draft DL and bring in a free agent/servicable guy in the secondary, if possible). We likely won't know if he will be a Buccaneer until mid March or April, so for now, thanks for the memories Flip.