COMMENTARY | The offensive line is battered, the secondary is bruised, but the running back position has turned into a revolving door for the New York Giants.
Starter David Wilson is going to miss at least three to four more weeks because of a neck injury, and that's good news considering there was some discussion last week that he might be lost for the year. Andre Brown came into training camp expected to back up Wilson, but he's out until Week 10 at the earliest because of a broken leg he suffered during training camp.
Former Giant Brandon Jacobs was brought in and he's now nicked up with a sore hamstring and is questionable for Monday night's game against the Minnesota Vikings. Da'Rel Scott also hurt his hamstring in the loss to the Chicago Bears on Thursday and was released on Tuesday. Rookie Michael Cox is presumably healthy, but his next NFL carry will be his first.
And that's just the tailbacks.
Fullback Henry Hynoski has been gone for since Sept. 22 after fracturing his shoulder and ending up on injured reserve, with the Terminator, former New York Jet John Connor, now starting. The Giants have brought in former Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis, who last played for the Kansas City Chiefs last season and was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during training camp this summer.
Hillis is most well known for parlaying one good year, when he rushed for 1,117 yards and 11 touchdowns for the Cleveland Browns in 2010, into winning a fan vote to be on the cover of the Madden NFL video game the following summer.
Hamstring injuries limited Hillis to 587 yards in 2011. He signed as a free agent with the Chiefs and got only 86 carries in 13 games (two of them starts) for 2-14 Kansas City and has been at home since being broomed by the Bucs.
If Jacobs can go, he'll likely start and Cox would more than likely get the backup carries in front of Hillis.
Of course, with the Giants in 2013, it's possible Jacobs and/or Cox could pull a hamstring leaving the locker room and Hillis might have to get all the carries.
Hillis is a big back (6-foot-1 and 240 pounds) and the former seventh-round pick out of Arkansas is more well known for running over defenders than he is running around them. He beat out D.J. Ware and Ryan Torain in a tryout for a roster spot.
The revolving door in the backfield has been just another symptom of a trying year for Eli Manning and the offense for Big Blue. The offensive line has been juggled and banged up, leading to fewer holes to run through. The injuries to Wilson, Brown, Scott, et al have made it difficult for the Giants to establish a running game behind a patchwork line and the attrition in the backfield has also caused problems in pass protection for Manning.
At 0-6, New York desperately needs a win against Minnesota on Monday night if there is to be any hope at all of turning this season around. But the Giants weren't running the ball well when the backs were healthy.
Can they realistically hope to maintain some sort of ground game with a backfield full of guys who were recently on the street?
Phil Watson is a freelance commentator and journalist who covers the New York Giants, New York Yankees and Brooklyn Nets for the Yahoo Contributor Network. He is also editor of brewers101.com and holds an editorial position at HoopsHabit.com.
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- New York Giants
- Peyton Hillis
- Brandon Jacobs
- David Wilson
- New York
- Andre Brown