EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Three years ago, Stevie Brown was the fifth-to-last pick in the NFL draft.
Brown played in all 16 games a year ago, starting 11 of them, but with Antrel Rolle out with an ankle injury, Brown suddenly becomes even more important.
Brown said Friday that he is trying to be a little more vocal in Rolle's absence, but expressed confidence in Ryan Mundy, who will start alongside him at safety in Rolle's place. Brown and Mundy played together for one year at Michigan.
"It's different, definitely different not having Trel there," Brown said. "But Mundy’s a great professional. It’s still really good to work with Mundy -- he doesn’t know every single thing, but he still has a very good grasp of the playbook, so it’s not much of a drop-off in communicating to him and everything like that."
Mundy signed with the Giants in March after spending four seasons as a backup with the Steelers. The Giants signed Brown the previous spring, with modest expectations. After all, Brown lasted just one season with the Raiders after they drafted him in the seventh round, 251st overall, in 2010.
Brown played with the Colts in 2011, but lasted just one season there, playing in eight games and recording five tackles.
Last fall, with former Giants safety Kenny Phillips struggling through injuries, Brown got his chance -- and he took advantage. He got his first start in Week 5 against Cleveland, had an interception, and never gave up the job. Not only that, he ended up with eight interceptions, tied for second-most in the NFL with Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman and behind only Bears cornerback Tim Jennings (nine).
"I didn’t have to do interviews with this many cameras this time last year," Brown said Friday, laughing. "It’s definitely a little bit different. Coaches talk to you in a different way, players talk to you in a different way and everything like that. It’s not about, 'Keep it going, keep your head focused, see if you can try to make this team.' Now it’s like, 'We’re gonna need things from you this year, we expect things from you this year.' "
New York Giants
It will be difficult to replicate that gaudy interception total. But coach Tom Coughlin said Friday that he's seeing similar play from Brown thus far in training camp.
"Yeah, we’ve seen plenty," Coughlin said. "He’s done a good job, he’s much more aware of what we would like from that position. He can get us in coverages, in the right coverages. He and Antrel work well together."
Brown certainly feels more at home in East Rutherford this summer. But he still feels he has a lot to prove.
"There are always going to be questions every single year," he said. "Until you get established or someone does it year in and year out, you’re always going to have questions -- if you’re going to just be a one-year guy? So I believe every single year you always have to go out there and prove yourself."
His next chance comes Sunday night, against one of his former teams.