The New York Giants' razor-thin depth at running back just got a little thinner, as the team announced Tuesday that it has released Da'Rel Scott to free up room to sign offensive lineman Dallas Reynolds.
Michael Eisen of the Giants' official website first reported the move, which was necessitated by the team's injury situation on the line. Right guard Chris Snee and center David Baas missed Sunday's loss to the Kansas City Chiefs with injuries, and both of their return dates are uncertain.
Reynolds, 29, has played both guard and center during his career. He was last a member of the Philadelphia Eagles in 2012, starting 14 games.
Although the Giants adding an offensive lineman was relatively expected, having the casualty coming out of their running back corps is a bit of a shock. New York is averaging just 57.8 rushing yards per game this season, third-worst in the NFL, and has shuffled its running backs situationally to try to find something that works.
For that reason, it's an even bigger surprise that Scott was the one let go. The former seventh-round pick had seemingly carved out a niche in the Giants offense, serving as a change-of-pace runner and third-down back. He received only 16 carries for 56 yards over the first quarter of the season, but added 10 receptions for 98 yards and a touchdown.
With the Giants playing from behind for much of the season, Scott had also encroached on David Wilson's spot on the depth chart. After replacing the fumble-prone back midway through New York's Week 1 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, Scott received more snaps than Wilson in both Week 2 and Week 3.
Wilson received more snaps against Kansas City on Sunday (29-27), per Football Outsiders, but it was Scott who got his first career start. For the season, Scott has received 49 percent of the Giants' offensive snaps compared to Wilson's 40 percent. With Scott being such a vital part of the offense, there's no clear reason why head coach Tom Coughlin made the move.
What this means for the Giants' running back situation is also up in the air. Scott's departure leaves Coughlin with only Wilson, recent re-signee Brandon Jacobs and rookie Michael Cox on the active roster. Andre Brown, who suffered a fractured leg in the preseason, can return from his injured reserve distinction after Week 6 for practice and after Week 8 for game action. Because New York is on a bye in Week 9, Brown could return for Week 10 at the earliest.
In the meantime, a majority of the carries probably go back in Wilson's direction. The 2012 first-round pick was effective against Kansas City, rushing 13 times for 55 yards and catching two balls out of the backfield. Jacobs, who has been used primarily in short-yardage situations, has received 11 carries for 11 yards and a touchdown thus far.
Cox, a seventh-round pick from UMass, has not played an offensive snap this season.
The Giants are still looking for their first win of 2013, and they host the 1-3 Philadelphia Eagles in Week 5. They have lost their last two contests by a combined score of 69-7.
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