Last year running backs Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward became the first duo of running backs to have 1000 yard seasons since Warrick Dunn and Michael Vick did it in 2006.
This year though, the New York Giant’s no longer have Derrick Ward. He is now a Tampa Bay Buccaneer, and the Giant’s are hoping one of their other backs can take the load.
Derrick Ward was a great change of pace back for the Giants and with his departure the Giants lose 182 carries, 1025 rushing yards, 2 rushing touchdowns, 41 receptions, 384 receiving yards, and 1 receiving touchdowns. Derrick Ward helped the Giants to the playoffs and his contributions to the team will be hard to replace in this upcoming season.
The Giants still have returning power-back Brandon Jacobs, but they have to replace Derrick Ward as the change of pace back. Ahmad Bradshaw seems like the obvious choice to fill the spot, but they can also look at rookie Andre Brown who is a very similar back to Ward.
Ahmad Bradshaw has great speed and is the exact opposite of Brandon Jacobs and would be a great change of pace back. When Jacobs is in the defense has to worry about getting run over by the 264 pound back, but when Bradshaw is in the defense has to be worried about him making you miss.
Last year Bradshaw averaged 5.3 yards per carry, virtually the same as Ward who averaged 5.6 yards per carry.
Bradshaw would fill the place of Derrick Ward pretty well. He is a bit faster than Ward and he can make people miss, but he is less powerful than Ward. To replace Ward though, they don’t need the power part that much because they have Brandon Jacobs.
Giants also have another choice to fill Wards spot. The Giants drafted Andre Brown running back out of North Carolina State with their fourth round pick. He is a lot like Derrick Ward in both running style and body type.
Both backs are almost identical in size. They both also run with good speed and agility. The most important part is that Brown is extremely hard to take down in the open field just like Ward.
Ahmad Bradshaw will probably take the place of Ward as change of pace back on the Giants roster. Bradshaw will have a shot at his first thousand yard season, but he will probably settle for around 800 yards in his first season with an adequate amount of carries. Brown will fall into the role Bradshaw had last year.
He will be the third back, but will still receive a good amount of carries to get a chance to prove himself. If Bradshaw slips or gets injured Brown could slip into the change of pace role.
The New York Giants will still have a good rushing team this year. With the loss of Ward they may not be the top in the league though. The Carolina Panthers will be the real challenger as the best team with their combo of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart.