Now is as good a time as any for David Wilson and the running game to make their mark and turn this season around for the woeful slumbering New York Giants. For all that has been said about the Giants’ inability to protect Eli Manning, and how that has been the root of all his turnovers, the remedy may actually be to turn to the run game and make the offensive line the aggressor in the battle of the trenches.
Aside from the acquisition of linebacker Jon Beason, the Giants have made other moves as well in the past two weeks. Some of these moves seem to imply that the Giants are going to look to establish an offensive identity through the run game against a Philadelphia Eagles team that is ranked last in the NFL in total defense and will be without defensive lineman Fletcher Cox. While it sounds like an exercise in futility for the 30th ranked rushing attack in the NFL to attempt to reestablish itself, it may be the perfect remedy for the Giants’ struggling offense.
Running the football will provide a balanced attack, protection from ill advised throws under duress, help avoid sack fumbles, motivate the offensive line with positive production even if it is miniscule on occasion, and lastly but most importantly, create manageable third downs to keep the offense moving while taking time off the clock and supplying the defense with adequate rest time, as it faces the fast paced offensive attack of the Eagles.
There are a few reasons why the Giants’ rush attack today may very well be different from what we have seen in the early part of this season. The first is the return of David Diehl at the guard position where he will fill in for the injured Chris Snee. Diehl who has struggled on the outside at the tackle position against speed rushers may be more effective at guard and could help the Giants run game with the help of recently signed fullback, John Conner. Conner has now had some time to learn the playbook and can contribute immediately as a bruising lead fullback that can open holes for Wilson to burst through. More importantly, with Conner taking over at fullback, tight end and fullback hybrid, Bear Pascoe can return to his natural position at TE and help the running game from the edges as he is a relatively solid blocker and can do more in that department than Brandon Myers has done thus far.
Finally, there was the cutting of running back Da’Rel Scott.
Scott, despite being relatively unproductive, was given more touches than Wilson over the past four weeks. Wilson who has been better, shown a stronger burst, and overall play making ability, will now be back in line to see the bulk of the carries as without Scott, the only two other active running backs remaining on the roster are veteran Brandon Jacobs, and rookie Michael Cox. Considering Coughlin’s conservative feelings towards playing inexperienced rookies it’s unlikely Cox will serve as anything more than a special teamer, that is barring any injury or fumbles. Jacobs, if used properly can still be an asset but at his age should not be any real threat to Wilson’s touches, who saw a season high thirteen carries last week, and could see anywhere from twenty to twenty five touches this week.
"I told him the other day, we need him to get in the end zone," Coughlin said. "That's what I'm looking for."
If Wilson can manage roughly eighty total yards of offense, that could be enough to take the pressure off the passing game and allow for manageable third downs. If the Giants can then win the battle of third downs, they can muster up their first win of the season. And what better way to get it than playing old school smash mouth Giant’s football.
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