For the New York Giants, their offseason priorities remain in the trenches and getting them improved and somewhat revamped. On the offensive side of the ball, it begins obviously with the line. Keeping the offensive captain not only upright, but giving Eli Manning valuable time in the pocket will benefit the rest of the skill players. What should follow is the running game and being able to depend, once again, on that aspect to gain back time of possession to the blue side. They ranked 25th in the league (with a tad over 29 minutes). Needless to say, this hopeful increase in TOP would also help the defensive side of the ball.
Head coach Tom Coughlin briefly lamented over the loss of big-hearted running back Ahmad Bradshaw, but keeps his focus on the tasks at hand.
"We have things that obviously have to be accomplished moving forward with players and we have to have the resources to be able to do that," Coughlin said.
Coughlin affirmed that this summer’s training camp will be an open competition at the tailback position amongst David Wilson, Andre Brown and Da'Rel Scott for the supposed starting position. Don’t read into that too much nor get nervous about lack of experience carrying the load. There were years that folks questioned the ability of backs to step up.
Tiki Barber retired and without question, big back (and still a fan favorite) Brandon Jacobs stepped in to lead the way. Ahmad Bradshaw did the same after Jacobs’ departure. The one correlating factor that many seen to forget is: running backs coach Jerald Ingram. Ingram has been with the Giants since 2004 and as with fellow coach Mike Pope (tight ends), he will have his players ready.
Another aspect of the Giants run game that very few stop to remember is that Big Blue doesn’t have a clear-cut back since the days of Tiki. The G-Men, rather, utilize a running back committee. If one back is they guy that eats up the opposing defense, that’s the guy that is “starter for the day,” as he’ll get the most carries.
Injuries will also be a predisposing factor to whom gets the handoff (insert obligatory shotgun-draw joke here) from #10. Andre Brown (an UFA still) was put on IR with the designation to return after fracturing his lower leg in week 12 versus Green Bay. He is supposedly moving ahead in his rehabilitation and is expected to be ready for the start of OTAs. Da'Rel Scott’s knee is also on schedule to be ready by the same time frame. This should add another dimension to the competition that Coughlin declared for them.
"The more competition the better," he said. "They're going to contribute, compete with one another, and hopefully make us better just like all other forms of competition."
Besides the three tailbacks mentioned, the options remain: Ryan Torain, Kregg Lumpkin (another UFA) and FB Henry Hynoski. While the first two mid-to-end-of-season signings are nowhere near being “starter” potential, newly-emerging fan favorite, Hynoski, is slowly building up his resume in the blue offense to include more than great blocking.
General Manager Jerry Reese had a bit to add to the upcoming competition and some “assuming” that David Wilson perhaps taking over the leader role vacated by the release of Bradshaw.
“It’s competition. It’s what we do with the Giants: we try to create competition at the running back spot, just like the other positions. We have David, Andre Brown and Da’Rel Scott. We’ll keep looking to add a fourth or fifth guy.”
Also, since we are talking about Reese and how the offseason is broached since his inception, the scouting process (even statistically) remains a tremendous factor.
“We always try to get an edge. But just old-fashioned scouting is what we try to hang our hats on. We put the numbers in and see what the numbers say and then put our eyes on players and see what our eyes say. I think that’s most important. But we don’t put our head in the sand and ignore it as well. We try to put it all together on what we think players are and challenge our scouts, kind of the unsung heroes of what we try to do,” he said.
While most of the recent hot conversation has revolved around “sexy” players like the starting wideouts (Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz), attention is where it belongs: power football. Thankfully.
Also…Ahmad Bradshaw, Andre Brown, Brandon Jacobs, David Wilson, Football, Henry Hynoski, Jerald Ingram, Jerry Reese, Kregg Lumpkin, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Ryan Torain, Tiki Barber, Tom Coughlin