COMMENTARY | For years, the New York Giants were a run-first, smash-mouth football team. However, a season ago, they moved away from tradition and won the Super Bowl despite having the worst rushing offense in the National Football League. Maybe it's time to go back basics.
With a trio of capable running backs, don't be surprised to see the G-Men return to old-school football in 2013. I know what you're thinking: As long as Kevin Gilbride is the offensive coordinator, the Giants will continue to throw the football around the yard. But don't underestimate Gilbride.
Consider this fact: The Giants were the only team in the NFL with three different players with a 100-yard rushing game this past season. Those three were Ahmad Bradshaw, who finished the year with a team-leading 1,015 yards, Andre Brown and rookie David Wilson. Brown suffered a season-ending injury in week 12, but still led the team with eight rushing touchdowns, and Wilson just scratched the surface of his potential with 358 yards and four TDs on the ground.
There's a good chance Bradshaw, Brown and Wilson will return next season, giving the Giants a group of running backs with different skills and strengths. There's the hard-nosed Bradshaw, the end zone-seeking Brown and the shifty Wilson, who could be the key to it all. He is the perfect change-of-pace runner and a dangerous pass-catching option on screens and check down. If used properly, the three running backs could bring a new dimension to Big Blue's offense, which finished this past season ranked No. 6 in the NFL (No. 12 in passing, No. 14 in rushing).
Don't get me wrong, the Giants are going to have a potent passing game as long as Eli Manning is around, but there's nothing wrong with getting back to basics. Featuring the running game would open up the passing game -- just think of all the play-action possibilities -- and bring balance to the Giants' offense. Plus, it would take some pressure off Manning, who was knocked around this past season. Incidentally, New York was 7-2 when rushing for at least 100 yards in 2012, so there's no denying that the Giants are a better team when they establish the ground game.
Stopping the run is another story.
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Adam Martini is a freelance sports writer who grew up in Queens, N.Y. rooting for the Giants despite being surrounded by Jets fans. He proudly wears his Rodney Hampton jersey on Sundays during the football season. Adam follows back Giants fans on Twitter @Pegcitysports.