Earlier in the week the New York Giants lost another player in free agency as running back Andre Brown agreed to a one-year contract with the Houston Texans. After bringing in Rashad Jennings from the Oakland Raiders, many people see Brown leaving as not a big deal, but this is a blow to the Giants.
It can be argued that any player who was a part of the atrocious Giants running game last season should be gone this season. But, as noticed last season with the Giants, it is a necessity for teams to have multiple running backs capable of answering the call. With the departure of Brown, the Giants now have major question marks behind Jennings.
Brown came out with a bang last season upon returning from his broken leg suffered in the final preseason game, rushing for over 100 yards in two of his first three games back. He struggled after that, finishing the season with only 3.5 yards per rush. He was recovering from his second broken leg in consecutive seasons — to the same place no less — so that could explain the drop in production, as he was just not in good enough shape to continue playing at a high level.
Whatever the reason may have been, Brown has proven that he is a capable backup and spot starter with the Giants. In 2012, Brown plowed his way to eight touchdowns as the Giants’ goal line back in only 10 games before breaking his leg.
On the roster currently is David Wilson, whose role no one can pinpoint right now as he recovers from neck surgery. Next in line is Peyton Hillis, who was ineffective for the most part last season as well, averaging only 3.4 yards per rush after being brought in Week 7 when the Giants were desperate for bodies. Last year’s seventh-round pick Michael Cox rounds out the running back depth chart.
Brown may have been slowed down by injuries, but when healthy he was productive. He has more upside than someone like Hillis and is more familiar with the Giants after being drafted by them in 2009 and returning to the team in 2012 after a stint with the Denver Broncos. He has more experience than Cox, who the Giants used primarily as a return man last season. For as injury-prone as Brown has been, he at least finished the season healthy, and there are no injury concerns swirling around him this offseason like there are with Wilson.
The Giants lost a capable backup and a player who produced for them while he was on the field. For now, Hillis is most likely going to assume the backup role, no matter how underwhelming an option he is, until Wilson can get back on the field and prove he is healthy. It would not be shocking to see the Giants take a running back later in the draft, as they need to begin getting some answers to the questions currently surrounding the running back position after Jennings.