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Re-Examining New York Giants’ Options for a Veteran Running Back Before Week 2

September 9th, 2013 at 6:30 AM
By Doug Rush

Now that most fans of the New York Giants have had the chance to calm down, take a breath, and sleep on the 36-31 loss suffered to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 1 of the 2013 season, there were a lot of positive things that came from the game, but unfortunately, there were way too many negatives that were in the game, which is why the Giants are starting out the season 0-1 and not 1-0.

'Brandon Jacobs' photo (c) 2012, Zennie Abraham - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

One of the glaring negatives staring the Giants fans and coaches in the face was the horrid and down-right putrid play at running back. from both David Wilson and Da'Rel Scott; both of which did nothing to make their spots in the offense safe going forward.

The first thing any fan will notice is how the Giants were unable to generate the run against the Cowboys all game long. Scott was the leading rusher with five carries for 23 yards and no touchdowns. Wilson was even worse with nine carries for 17 yards and no touchdowns, but his stats weren't the issue. The issue was the two huge fumbles that he coughed up; one of which cost the Giants an early chance to put points on the board in the first quarter and the second one ended up being returned for a touchdown by the Cowboys.

Following the second fumble from Wilson, he was immediately benched for the rest of the game and the Giants went with Scott, who was the culprit of tipping up a pass from Eli Manning and having it intercepted by Brandon Carr, who took it 49 yards for the put-away touchdown the Cowboys needed with 1:50 to go in the game. 

What you have from the game was extremely poor execution from two running backs who were a big part of the reason why the Giants lost and part of the six turnovers the team made, which is why general manager Jerry Reese will be scouring the free agent market for a veteran option at running back. With Andre Brown on the shelf recovering from a leg injury and out until Week 10, the Giants need to give Wilson help, and a veteran mentor to help him on the field. With a meeting against the Denver Broncos in Week 2 looming, here are a few of the options the Giants can look at for a temporary basis:

  • Ryan Grant: The Giants have spoke to Grant's agent last week about a potential reunion. Grant was a member of the Giants during the 2005 and 2006 season, but was traded to the Green Bay Packers before the 2007 season for a sixth-round draft pick because the Giants had depth at running back and felt Grant was expendable enough to ship out to the Packers. Grant has rushed for 4,148 yards and 27 touchdowns in his six seasons as a pro. In 2012, Grant was a member of the Packers and Redskins.
  • Willis McGahee: The 31-year-old veteran is still a free agent and was a very popular name mentioned on Twitter following the Giants 36-31 loss on Sunday night. McGahee last played for the Broncos in 2012 and rushed for 731 yards and four touchdowns in 10 games played for Denver. McGahee did have a fumbling issue in 2012, as he coughed up the ball a career-high five times. Of the options on the market, McGahee might be one of the better ones out there depending on what kind of game shape he is in.
  • Michael Turner: The 31-year-old veteran is another name that has been a very popular one and brought up by Giants fans all over since Brown went down in the final game of the preseason. Turner had 800 yards and 10 touchdowns in 16 games for the Falcons, but was replaced in the offense and has yet to receive a job offer since being released by Atlanta. He wasn't one of the players the Giants contacted or brought in for a workout and some have wondered if Turner's physical condition might be why he hasn't landed a job in the NFL. If he is no longer in football shape, then the Giants might not want to give him a call. But if he is, then Turner should be a serious option to consider.
  • Tim Hightower: Hightower hasn't played in the NFL since the 2011 season, but the Giants were interested in him during the off-season, as they worked him out, although they never signed him. After the injury to Brown, Hightower's name came up again briefly as a name that shouldn't be ruled out and one that would make sense if signed. Hightower would another dimension to the Giants offense as a back who can carry and catch the ball well; something he did for the Redskins and Cardinals.
  • Jonathan Dwyer: Dwyer is potentially the odds-on favorite in the search for a running back considering he played during the summer for the Steelers before being released in late August. In limited time with the Steelers last season, Dwyer rushed for 623 yards and two touchdowns in 13 games. While the Giants might be interested in Dwyer, some feel that a reunion could happen between him and the Steelers, as Pittsburgh's offense was terrible and almost non-existent in a 16-9 Week 1 loss to the Tennessee Titans, so it wouldn't be completely shocking to see the Giants beaten to the punch for Dwyer's services.
  • Beanie Wells: Wells was one of the several running backs that the Giants worked out last week, but didn't sign before the game in Week 1. Wells is a free agent still because of knee issues, which is what cut down his 2012 season and when Wells was at the workout last week, some felt that his knee wasn't in the best of shape, which is a huge reason why he is still a free agent looking for work and not with a team. Wells' best season was back in 2011 when he rushed for 1,047 yards and 10 touchdowns for the Cardinals.
  • Brandon Jacobs: The last of the batch of names on this list, but if you ask a lot of Giants fans, he might be the most popular name of the bunch. Jacobs was barely used by the San Francisco 49ers and was eventually released by the team in December, so he has fresh legs. Plus, he knows the current Giants offensive system and would fit in on a temporary basis. However, the Giants have yet to call him and it's unknown if the team is interested in a reunion with their former running back, who has stayed in playing shape and would be willing to re-sign with the team if they called him.

If any of these options were to be signed, their salary for 2013 would not be guaranteed; which wouldn't be true if they were signed before Week 1, thus why the Giants only had three running backs on the roster against the Cowboys; and a move they paid for dearly with the loss. At the end of the day, Reese and Tom Coughlin have some decisions to make before Sunday's game against the Broncos, but most people will agree that a veteran has to be added before the game to help the offense in situations where Wilson and Scott can't and avoid the mistakes and disaster that happened in Dallas.

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Tags: Beanie Wells, Brandon Jacobs, Football, Jonathan Dwyer, Michael Turner, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Ryan Grant, Tim Hightower, Willis McGahee

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3 Responses to “Re-Examining New York Giants’ Options for a Veteran Running Back Before Week 2”

  1.  giankees says:

    Randle looked great nicks made me feel good and cruz is the best slot in nfl. This offense is too sensitive to decision making by rec andtoo reliant upon timing for new players. If wilson doesnt screw up so badly he woild have gotten a lot of yardage on some of those screen passes that scott had. Also cox should have been in on the goal line stuff.Defense looked hood better than i thought. Jpp needed the first half to get his feet under him.and tge dts came to play. Patterson looks great and joseph with support looks way better.Anybody feel like randle should have fielded tgat short punt? Thoughthe gave up on it early.Paysinger looked good herzlich did not. Tt shows some great decision making at the line.Dont ever waste a pick up on a kick returner again. Tge kickoff in nfl is over.Im sure no team has had 5 turnovers to 1 and was driving to win the game in nfl history.Lets beat peyton and forget about this mess

  2.  nick86 says:

    only names on that list that intrigue me are Jacobs and Willis. Would love Willis if hes recovered.

  3.  nick86 says:

    Positives-

    WRs- looked explosive all 3of them
    Pugh- made mistakes and got beat, but looks like a player
    Rolle- Continues to play his tail off
    Tuck- Looks better than he has in a long time
    TT- Looked solid out there- great story

    Negatives-

    Eli- Horrible, forget 400 + yards, giving the ball away
    Wilson- forget the fumbles, the worst part of his game last night was his pass blocking. looked completely unwilling to stick his nose in there and pick up blitzers. Going to get Eli hurt
    Mundy- Not quite CC brown but not far off

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