COMMENTARY | When Ahmad Bradshaw was released earlier this offseason by the New York Giants, it was widely assumed that David Wilson was next in line to start at running back. But don't count out Andre Brown, who reportedly signed his restricted free-agent tender with the team on Tuesday, April 23. It's a non-guaranteed, one-year deal worth $2.023 million.
Brown rumbled for 385 yards and a team-high eight touchdowns before he suffered a season-ending leg injury against the Green Bay Packers in Week 12. Wilson, New York's first-round pick in 2012, rushed for 358 yards and four touchdowns. But his return skills left a lasting impression. The dynamic rookie set a franchise record with 1,533 kick-return yards, including a 97-yard dash to pay dirt against the New Orleans Saints in Week 14. He had 327 all-purpose yards and a pair of rushing TDs in the game.
Wilson's late-season exploits made it easy to forget about Brown, who originally was drafted by the Giants in the fourth round in 2009. However, the hard-nosed Brown may be better suited to start, especially in the rugged NFC East. His straight-ahead running style is similar to former New York running backs such as Ottis Anderson, Rodney Hampton, Brandon Jacobs and Bradshaw. And, just like those other running backs were in the past, he sees himself as a starter.
"This is my year," Brown told Giants.com. "I have to go out there and I have to produce. I feel like this is a very important season and I have to go out there and show the world what Andre Brown is made of."
It remains to be seen which back will get the rock to start next season, but the truth is that both of them are in line for larger roles in 2013. Wilson and Brown probably will share carries, like Jacobs and Bradshaw did before them. Ideally, Brown gets the rock on short-yardage and goal-line downs, while the shifty Wilson gets enough touches to keep opposing defenses honest.
For the Giants, who ranked 14th in the league in rushing this past season, having two capable and complementary running backs should create a healthy competition in training camp and on the field. Honestly, I don't care or think it matters who starts in the backfield next season, since both players are up to the task. But I am looking forward to seeing what Brown can do for Big Blue.
Adam Martini is a freelance sports writer with more than 15 years of experience covering amateur and professional sports for several print and online media outlets. He tracked the New York Giants for Yahoo! Contributor Network during the team's Super Bowl run in 2011-12. Adam can be found on Twitter @Pegcitysports.Sources
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Andre Brown
- Ahmad Bradshaw