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Andre Brown: Giants RB Should Supplant Ahmad Bradshaw as Team's Starter

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 30:  Running back Andre Brown #35 of the New York Giants prior to a game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on September 30, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)
Alex Trautwig/Getty Images
Rick WeinerFeatured ColumnistOctober 6, 2012

Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride was accurate in his assessment of Andre Brown earlier this week, noting to the Newark Star-Legder's Jorge Castillo that the team doesn't fully trust Brown's pass-blocking abilities.

Brown doesn't deny the fact that it's a part of his game that he needs to improve upon:

I’m progressing. I’m still going to go out there every week and work hard, and I know it. I feel like if I continue to go out there each week and just continue to keep showing progress, I’ll be all right. Eventually, one day I’ll be out there and I’ll gain their trust.

Filling in for the oft-injured Ahmad Bradshaw during the Giants' Week 2 matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and their Week 3 game against the Carolina Panthers, Brown carried the ball 33 times for 184 yards and three touchdowns, averaging 5.6 yards per carry.

He's out-gained Bradshaw by 65 yards on the season with only three more carries than the incumbent starter, a stark difference in production.

As it stands now, the Giants rank 24th in the league rushing, averaging a paltry 89.5 yards per game on the ground—a number that puts them just ahead of the Jets, who have been crushed by fans and the media for their lack of a legitimate ground attack.

While the Giants have certainly morphed into a high-powered passing offense with Eli Manning under center—and rightfully so—a potent running game only makes Eli's job easier.

It also gives the offensive line a chance to go on the attack, something any offensive lineman would tell you is preferable to constantly having to play defense.

Let's put the fact that Brown has been more productive than Bradshaw on the back burner for a moment.

Bradshaw has been with the Giants for six seasons, but his skills are declining. Last year, the former seventh-round pick only had 659 rushing yards and 267 receiving yards. 

Ahmad Bradshaw, for as much ability as he has, cannot stay healthy. He's constantly banged up, has required multiple surgeries on his feet and simply isn't as explosive as he once was.

Yet he remains a vital part of the Giants' offensive attack.

Moving Brown into the starting role wouldn't be a knock on Bradshaw's ability, but a way to keep Bradshaw healthy—something that the team absolutely needs as it gets into the meaty part of its schedule, which begins next week against the San Francisco 49ers.

Starting that transition this week against the Cleveland Browns (who actually have a more stout run defense than the Giants do) makes sense for all parties involved.

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