According to Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News, the G-Men have amped up their pursuit of Leach, who was released by the Baltimore Ravens in early June. Vacchiano reports that the Giants were hoping to land Leach for a one-year, minimum salary deal, but with the Houston Texans and Miami Dolphins also interested in the 31 year old, New York will have to find a way to up its offer despite only having $3.3 million to work with. Even if Hynoski is ready for the start of the season, which I don't think he will be, the Giants must make Leach a priority.
The G-Men are coming off of a season in which they ranked 14th in rushing offense. While last year's performance on the ground was drastically better than it was in 2011, the Giants are in dire need of a veteran fullback who is a proven blocker.
Leach has paved the way for star running backs during his nine-year career. He was instrumental to Arian Foster's 2010 breakout campaign with the Texans, as Foster went on to rush for 1,616 yards and score 16 touchdowns, both marks of which led the NFL. Leach also blocked for Ray Rice with the Ravens, who rushed for more than 1,000 yards in all three of his seasons with Leach leading the way.
After releasing Ahmad Bradshaw this offseason, New York is slated to have either David Wilson or Andre Brown as the starter at running back--both of which are new to the role. With an extremely inexperienced backfield, a veteran presence like Leach would certainly help the players and the coaching staff.
Brown was having an excellent season in 2012 before suffering a season-ending broken leg in Week 12 against the Green Bay Packers. While it does sound like he's recovering nicely from the injury, we don't know how that leg is going to fare during an actual game. The fact that Wilson is coming off of a rookie season in which he received just 71 carries also highlights the need for a FB like Leach.
The three-time Pro Bowler wouldn't only be responsible for blocking in the running game, as he would also add extra insurance for the offensive line when protecting quarterback Eli Manning, who's the cornerstone of the Giants' franchise.
Of course, the Giants would have a choice to make when Hynoski does return, but that's something they can address further down the road.
For now, Big Blue has to address the fullback position in order to assure that their offense is ready to go when their Week 1 matchup with the rival Dallas Cowboys arrives on Sept. 8. Right now, the Giants are planning on utilizing tight end Bear Pascoe at fullback, which is really their only option outside of Leach.
With a young and inexperienced backfield, New York would greatly benefit from acquiring a proven fullback like Leach, who I believe is the best at his position. If the Giants opt to pass on Leach, their young running game could suffer in the beginning of the season.
Pete Schauer is a native of the Jersey Shore where he covers the New York Giants for Bleacher Report and writes for HoopsHabit and contributes to the YES Network. You can follow him on Twitter @Pete_Schauer .
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