Remember the days of “Earth, Wind and Fire,” the moniker given to the Giants’ three-pronged rushing attack from 2007-2010?
Yeah, me too.
Unfortunately, the only “Earth, Wind and Fire” to grace the halls of the team’s headquarters the last few seasons has been the occasional tune by the musical group.
Well good news Giants fans.
Like the musical group, who last September released its first new studio album in eight years, the Giants are hoping to take the wraps off their latest combination of those three elements and showcase a powerful rushing attack in 2014.
As Conor Orr of The Star-Ledger noted, the Giants remain optimistic regarding the return of David Wilson, who continues to recover from offseason neck surgery.
If Wilson is indeed ready for training camp—a big "if"—the Giants' new potential three-pronged rushing attack would consist of Rashad Jennings, Wilson and Williams, with the fourth spot up for grabs between Peyton Hillis and Michael Cox.
Orr also pointed out that in Green Bay, where Giants offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo recently coached, and in Denver, the power running game helped bring a potent dimension to both teams' respective offenses.
For now, let’s focus on Williams.
Last season, he was the bell cow for Boston College, carrying the ball 355 times for an amazing 2,177 yards and 18 touchdowns.
While not known as a receiver—he finished his four-year college career with 10 receptions for 60 yards—it’s Williams’ between-the-tackles style that the Giants really haven’t had since the days of Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw.
Before we get too excited however, Williams will need to show the coaches that he has the ability to pass block, something he had minimal experience doing at the collegiate level.
Williams believes that part of his game will fall into place.
“I know I’m going to have to be a lot cleaner in terms of pass blocking fundamentals but I’m using a lot of the same protections now that I used in years past,” he said during this week’s media day.
Besides the pass-blocking aspect, which during a February conference call McAdoo cited as being key for any running back to master if he wants to get on the field, Williams will probably have to work on his pass-receiving skills so that he doesn’t become a one-trick pony.
“They’re not really going to handicap me at all,” Williams said of the need for him to become a more effective receiver out of the backfield. “I have to be just as effective passing and running as the other running backs in the group. It’s something that I’m definitely working on.”
He’s also working on his fundamentals, another key element that McAdoo wants from his players.
“I think once you get the fundamentals down once the pads come on and you’ve been repping it so much, and the way they build it up in phase one, two and three, and you build towards the pads, it kind of just falls into place,” Williams said.
Williams was asked what kind of opportunity he thinks he has in this first year, and of course, he offered the standard safe answer:
I think the opportunity is just to come in and compete and get better. Being around the guys in my circle, the running back group, and the whole offense as a whole, everybody’s really together, there’s a good feeling in the locker room about the offense.
Initially, Williams might see a touch here and there, but as he begins to demonstrate a proficiency in pass-blocking, there should be no reason why he won’t move up the depth chart.