2022 Giants training camp preview: Running backs

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The New York Giants were once a team that prided itself on running the football at will. Those days are long gone, as is the notion of running the football as a the primary source of offense.

Last season, the Giants were 23rd in rushing with a 99.3 yards per game average. Much of this had to do with lack of opportunity more than anything else. The Giants, who finished 4-13, were usually behind on the scoreboard and were playing catch-up.

This year, with a new head coach in Brian Daboll and a new offensive coordinator (Mike Kafka), the Giants don’t figure to be run-first offense based on their histories.

It’s not certain how the unit will be filled out or deployed this year. There is also a new running backs coach in DeAndre Smith, who is making the leap to the NFL after two decades in the college ranks.

Here is a quick rundown of the running back unit heading into camp.

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Saquon Barkley

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We won’t sugarcoat it. If the Giants could have found a reasonable return for Saquon Barkley in a trade this offseason, they would have taken it.

Once the future of the franchise, Barkley is now a reclamation project after three seasons ruined by injuries. He is in the last year of his rookie contract and still could be dealt if the right deal comes along.

Judging by the plays the Giants ran in minicamp and at OTAs, it appears that they would like to get the football into Barkley’s hands in space — a la a receiver — which has always been his strength.

Matt Breida

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Matt Breida has made his name as a change-up back in a committee format. He’s a solid option in that vein but don’t expect him to be a bell cow back or late-game pile-pusher.

Breida can provide a spark in spurts and can occasionally rip off a big play. He understands the offense and is a nice addition to the running back room.

Gary Brightwell

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Full disclosure, Gary Brightwell was drafted for his special team prowess and only had one carry and one reception as a rookie last year.

Brightwell will likely have an increased role this year on offense, but few can say whether that will be a positive or negative since he’s had so few snaps.

Others

 

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The Giants signed free agent Antonio Williams this offseason. Williams spent last season with Buffalo but played sparingly. He was a top recruit who played at both Ohio State and North Carolina in college and is largely an unknown heading into camp.

Big Blue also signed Florida State’s Jashaun Corbin, a compact runner with some big play ability who can also return kicks.

Sandro Platzgummer, from the NFL’s International Player Pathway Program, is back and will attempt to crack the roster.

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