After inviting some of the league’s free agents to relatively “open” auditions, the New York Giants have reportedly chosen their new and rather familiar running back. According to several sources, the Giants have opened a roster spot and will use it to sign the 31-year-old Brandon Jacobs to a one-year deal.
Jacobs, who played just two games for the San Francisco 49ers last season, spent the first seven years of his career as a member of Big Blue. During his time in New York, Jacobs was a very solid and very durable back. He totaled 4,849 rushing yards, scored 56 TDs (no less than four in a single season) and did so while only missing 12 of a possible 114 games.
For most of his career, Jacobs was an every-down back for the Giants. And because of his size at 6-foot-4, 264 pounds, Jacobs was literally able to overpower defenders and emerge victorious in most strength-related matchups. That explains why he averaged a touchdown in exactly 50 percent of his games played with the Giants.
Even when New York played with a two-running back set, bolstering Jacobs with the smaller and quicker Ahmad Bradshaw, he still got his carries.
It is unknown what Jacobs’ role will be in the offense this year, as he was very much a non-factor last year for the 49ers because of injuries and overall inconsistent play. However, what the Giants do know is that they are getting a durable back with great ball-handling skills. Perhaps that is what separated Jacobs from his competition in the tryouts.
The Giants and Tom Coughlin had years to know him, and to learn his strengths and weaknesses. Da’Rel Scott, who filled in admirably for David Wilson after his two fumbles early in the game got him benched, might be expected to take the majority of carries. He was also targeted a remarkable eight times and caught five passes, all of which helps his value.
But with Jacobs and his mere 17 fumbles in 1,083 rushing attempts back on the team, Scott won’t be an every-down back. In fact, considering his size and sheer strength, Jacobs will fit into the role of the third-down and likely goal line back at least to start. Plus, he can lay down a block for Scott so that the 25-year-old can use his speed to break off long runs.
Ultimately, Jacobs has the potential to make the Giants a better team and to make their running game at least somewhat effective. And obviously that will lead to a trickle-down effect because the better the rushing is, the less pressure there will be on Eli Manning, and the better he can be.
Marilee Gallagher is a baseball writer for RantSports.com. You can follow her on Twitter @MGallagher17 like her page on Facebook, or join her network on Google.