New York Giants: Second Running Back Position Up for Grabs
The New York Giants are all settled into their dorms at the University of Albany and are excited to begin their defense of last year’s improbable Super Bowl Championship. There will be several key position battles that will shape up during camp all over the field. Today, we will take a look at the running back situation.
Ahmad Bradshaw is the starter. That is not up for debate. Last year Bradshaw had a down year, as did the entire Giants running game. Brandon Jacobs is gone and first round draft pick David Wilson is in. However, Wilson will not be handed the job. He will have to earn it and there will be three others in camp trying to break camp as Bradshaw’s backup, which is really like a co-starter in the Giants’ offense. Wilson will have to battle D.J. Ware, Da’Rel Scott, and Andre Brown for the football and the competition figures to be intense.
Ware is the real veteran of the group fighting for the second running back slot. The 27 year-old has been with the Giants since 2007 and has seen his playing time slowly increase over that span. Last season he played in all 16 games with 1 start and rushed for 163 yards on 46 carries (3.5 average) and caught 27 passes for 170 yards. Last season Ware was primarily a third down back and his ability to pick up the blitz or be a viable check-down option for Eli Manning in the passing game made him a valuable asset. Because of Ware’s understanding of the offense and his ability to pick up the blitz he should be, at the very least, the third down back again this year.
Da’Rel Scott is the intriguing dark horse in this competition. He had a stellar preseason last year, breaking off big runs against the Chicago Bears and New England Patriots. However, he barely saw the field as a rookie in the regular season. He has explosive speed and can be a home run threat. He was hampered last year by a limited offseason thanks to the lockout but this year he should be up to speed and could emerge as a viable option, even as the third running back. Don’t forget, the Giants used three running backs in 2007 with Bradshaw, Jacobs, and Derrick Ward. Both Jacobs and Ward rushed for over 1,000 yards that year so the Giants aren’t afraid to utilize several running backs as the need on the field dictates.
Andre Brown is the underdog. Nobody expects him to be a legitimate contender to be Bradshaw’s backup. Since 2009, Brown has only appeared in 4 NFL games and in 2010 bounced around from the Giants to the Carolina Panthers to the Washington Redskins to the Denver Broncos, to the Indianapolis Colts. A lot of the promise he showed coming out of college went for naught after he ruptured his Achilles tendon in the 2009 preseason. However, Brown knows this might be his last shot and he will be going full bore into training camp trying to secure his spot on the roster.
David Wilson was the first round choice of the Giants in this year’s NFL Draft. He has drawn rave reviews ever since mini-camp and Bradshaw has taken him under his wing and is the frontrunner to be Bradshaw’s backup. If he has a strong camp and can get things done in the preseason he will enter the regular season sharing carries with Bradshaw. If he can’t, head coach Tom Coughlin will have no qualms about going with the guy he thinks will help his team win a football game, regardless of how they were acquired. That being said, I think Wilson will emerge as the secondary option out of the backfield. He is just too talented not to.