Breaking Down Giants' Trainwreck Backfield, and What New York Should Do Next
In his first game as a New York Giants running back, David Wilson fumbled on his second carry. One year later and against the same team, in his first game as the New York Giants' starting running back, Wilson fumbled twice more.
That, obviously, is a major concern. It's why, despite the fact the Giants are shallow at that position, Wilson was sent back to head coach Tom Coughlin's infamous doghouse for the remainder of the night.
Fumbles, though, aren't the only concern here. Tiki Barber was the last Giants back to fumble twice in a game. He fumbled a lot early in the Coughlin era before finding a way to cut down on those turnovers. But for Wilson, those fumbles are just part of a broad formula that right now equals unreliability.
We saw that on the two fumbles, but we also saw it when Wilson—who as a rookie took as much heat for his poor pass protection as his ball security—whiffed on Cowboys pass-rusher George Selvie in the red zone, resulting in a sack of Eli Manning and pretty much spoiling Big Blue's chances of capitalizing inside the Dallas 5-yard line.
Maybe jitters factored in, but that's not a risk the Giants can take right now. Not with the Denver Broncos coming to town and an 0-2 record looking them straight in the eye.
Andre Brown, who has the making of a solid third-down back, can't stay healthy. He's out at least half the season with a fractured leg. At least backup Da'Rel Scott picked up 74 yards on 10 touches in relief of Wilson Sunday night, but don't forget that it was Scott who essentially volleyed a Manning checkdown right into Brandon Carr's hands on the game-clinching turnover.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that they've had a Tuesday workout with free-agent vet Willis McGahee planned since Friday, while USA Today's Mike Garafolo reports that former Giant Brandon Jacobs will be among a group of backs essentially auditioning on Tuesday.
Michael Turner is another intriguing option with plenty of experience, but there haven't been any reports linking him to the Giants.
Still, let's include him on a list of four: Wells, McGahee, Jacobs and Turner. A breakdown:
|Free-agent back||Age||2012 stats||The lowdown|
|Willis McGahee||31||4.4 YPC||Fumbled 4 times last year in Denver.|
|Brandon Jacobs||31||5 carries||Knows the offense well.|
|Beanie Wells||25||2.7 YPC||Not a great pass blocker.|
|Michael Turner||31||3.6 YPC||Might be out of gas.|
Stats from NFL.com
Yes, his productivity dropped off as a rusher, but he won't be asked to carry as much of a load this time around.
That said, I don't think it could hurt for the Giants to take a shot at any of these guys, or even a combination. They need guys who can handle the spotlight and the pressure and can simply get the job done.
This is a pass-first team, but it always helps to have stability in the backfield. The Giants simply don't have that right now with Wilson and Scott and rookie Michael Cox. They might not need a complete overhaul, and that's not possible right now anyway. They do, however, need support, and what they have to pick from on Tuesday should be enough to right the ship.
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