The 31-year-old Jacobs is certainly no stranger to the Giants faithful, as he spent seven years with the team and helped win two Super Bowls during that time. Following the 2011 season, Jacobs played the 2012 season with the San Francisco 49ers, but hardly played due to differences with head coach Jim Harbaugh and was eventually released this past December.
With the running back struggles of David Wilson and Da'Rel Scott, Michael Cox's inexperience and the leg injury suffered to Andre Brown in the preseason finale against the New England Patriots that will keep him on temporary injured reserve and on the sidelines until at least Week 10, the Giants need for a veteran back was as glaring as the hole as ever, which is why Tom Coughlin and Jerry Reese set up the workouts on Tuesday to find a suitable player to help the team.
While a lot of fans were extremely happy to see Jacobs come back into the fold for the Giants, there were those fans who voiced their disdain for the move for Jacobs; reasons like "being a malcontent, a locker room cancer, a washed up bum," among other phrases that were thrown around by some fans on Tuesday night following the news of the signing.
While nay-sayers want to find reasons why the move to get Jacobs was wrong for the team, the reality of it is it was actually a great move and the right move for the Giants to make going forward in the 2013 season. What makes it the right move? Lets examine:
- His ability to handle blocking defenders in pass protection; something David Wilson failed to do in Week 1 which nearly got Eli Manning killed at times. The Giants showed everyone in Dallas that they will have success throwing the football deep down the field, and if Manning is going to be able to get the ball to receivers, he needs to be standing upright first and not on his back. Jacobs will help ensure that his quarterback can get those passes off.
- The knowledge of the offense is extremely crucial, especially with offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride calling the shots and has been there for most of Jacobs professional career. Players always like to choose an offense that they know and can be comfortable with in the league, and the Giants offense hasn't changed that much with Gilbride calling the plays for Manning and company, which should suit Jacobs well.
- Jacobs is still in football shape, despite not playing much in the 2012 season with the 49ers. Jacobs always kept in the back of his mind that the Giants could always give him a call if somebody important went down with an injury, so the 31-year-old worked out in the summer and even still has a unofficial 40-yard-dash time of 4.4. One name that a lot of fans kept bringing up was Michael Turner, formerly of the Atlanta Falcons, but a lot of experts said that Turner isn't in shape to play in the NFL and why he hasn't gotten a single call since being released from the Falcons several months ago.
- At 31-years-old and with two Super Bowl rings under his belt, Jacobs has seen it all and done it all in his NFL career, so the knowledge he possesses will certainly help guys like Wilson, Scott and Cox, plus Brown whenever he gets back. Part of the NFL process is for young players to have the mentor to guide them and get them acclimated to the life of being an NFL starter (Eli Manning had it with Kurt Warner and Tim Hasselbeck early on in his career, Jacobs had Tiki Barber and Derrick Ward there in his rookie season back in 2005,) Jacobs can now do the same for the younger running backs on the team and pass down guidance and wisdom to the next generation.
- The ability to not fumble the football, which is a big one for Coughlin. In his eight-year career, Jacobs has only fumbled 18 times in 1,083 career carries; which comes out to one fumble every 60.1 carries; whereas Wilson has already fumbled three times in just 78 career carries, which is one fumble for every 26 carries. The guy that Jacobs worked out with and beat out for the job, Willis McGahee, has fumbled 28 times in 1,957 carries, which actually comes out to one fumble for every 69.8 carries, but he also had a career high of five fumbles with the Broncos just last season and four the season before, so nine fumbles in 416 carries, and that comes out to one fumble for every 46 carries. In the last two seasons as a pro where he was active, Jacobs had five fumbles in 299 carries; which averaged out to one fumble for every 53 carries. In the end, Jacobs is less prone to fumbling the football, whereas McGahee has had a case of it in recent years.
With the Giants next regular season game just four days away, the Giants won't have that much time to get Jacobs on the practice field, but he'll have the next few days to get caught up on the playbook and potentially in pads and playing against the Broncos defense that allowed 58 yards of rushing and 47 yard of receiving and two touchdowns to running back players in Week 1. And throw in the fact that Coughlin has not committed to Wilson being the starter, much less playing against Denver, and Jacobs may find himself going from being on his couch watching the Giants on television to starting and taking hand-offs at MetLife Stadium.
At the end of the day, both Reese and Coughlin made the best choice for the team going forward in bringing back Jacobs. Giants fans can only hope that he plays well enough to silence those nay-sayers and change their tune once he starts playing.
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