Ahmad Bradshaw: Pros and Cons of Giants Possibly Resting RB in Week 15

Lou Rom@louromliveContributor IDecember 13, 2012

Dec 9, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw (44) during the game against the New Orleans Saints at Metlife Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Andrew Mills/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports
The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

After Ahmad Bradshaw missed another practice Thursday, New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin says it's up to team doctors to clear Ahmad Bradshaw to play Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons.

But, given Bradshaw's up and down performance throughout the year and David Wilson's breakout game, should Coughlin consider resting Bradshaw even if he's medically ready to play?

Bradshaw, who has battled foot injuries throughout his career, now has a sprained left knee as the Giants (8-5) prepare to play the Falcons (11-2) on the road.

There are pros and cons for resting Bradshaw, no doubt.

On the pro side, a healthy Bradshaw will be invaluable to the Giants during the playoffs, as his bruising style of play helps wear down opposing offenses.

In addition, the Falcons run defense ranks 23rd in the league, and teams have had success running against them on the outside, so Big Blue would not particularly miss Bradshaw in this game. 

And, the timing is perfect to see if the Giants can build on David Wilson's breakout game last week. Why not feed that confidence by asking him to carry the load in a big matchup against Atlanta? 

Of course, on the flip side, this is a big game for New York—one you probably want to come at with all barrels loaded. 

That may be Coughlin's thinking as he rallies his troops against the first-place Falcons.

Coughlin may want to test Bradshaw's knee against the Falcons and insert him sporadically throughout the game to keep Atlanta's secondary—and tackles—honest.

As for the impact of resting Bradshaw and giving the running game over to Wilson, there is certainly risk. Wilson's breakout game was one game. While his confidence should be at an all-time high, it might not be wise to put him in a position he may not be ready for—that is, to carry the load of the running game on his back.

The last thing you want to do is put Wilson in a position to fail and set him back. 

Knowing Coughlin, he will try to balance the two, protecting Wilson's development and Bradshaw's knee.