The New York Giants have signed running back Brandon Jacobs after bringing him in for a workout with Willis McGahee and Joe McKnight. Jacobs is, of course, familiar to Giants fans since he spent the first seven years of his career with the Giants. He left after the 2011 season and signed with the San Francisco 49ers where appeared in two games and carried the ball five times for seven yards. He was hampered by injuries last season and was eventually suspended for comments he made and then waived.
After Sunday’s loss to the Dallas Cowboys which saw starting running back David Wilson struggle in pass protection and fumble twice, the Giants needed to do something to bolster their running game. However, Jacobs, despite his familiarity with the offense and locker room, is not the best fit for the offense.
In the wake of the disaster that was the Giants running game on Sunday night, Giants fans were calling for the return of Jacobs or the import of a free agent like McGahee or Michael Turner. Of all of the running backs the Giants brought in Jacobs was the most obvious candidate for the job. However, that doesn’t make him the best.
In Jacobs’ last season with the Giants he rushed for 571 yards on 152 carries, a 3.8 yard average. That was down from the 823 yards he gained on 147 carries, a 5.6 yard average, in 2010. Jacobs is, without a doubt, an integral member of two Super Bowl winning teams but his best years are probably behind him at age 31.
The Giants need a running back who will be able to play a role in the passing game, either in pass protection or catching the ball out of the backfield. Jacobs can block but he is not a good option catching the ball out of the backfield.
If Jacobs is going to be asked to play a major role in the offense it won’t help the running game. He is not the player he was when he was with the Giants. He won’t suddenly reinvigorate the running game or solve the problems that plague the Giants. Those problems have to be solved by David Wilson. Wilson is the Giants’ best chance of establishing a running game and remains so. With Andre Brown out it all falls on Wilson’s shoulders and it doesn’t matter what Jacobs does because it won’t change a thing if Wilson doesn’t improve.