One of the more intriguing training camp battles in the NFL this season is the war for the starting role in the New York Giants backfield. Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams both have their hearts set on becoming featured backs in the Big Apple, but the former may have staked his claim to the job with a spectacular run against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Jennings broke through the Steelers defense for a strong 73-yard touchdown run early in the first quarter of the game.
He didn't do much else on the night, gaining 12 yards on his other four carries, but he didn't have to after that blistering touchdown run. The New York Post's Paul Schwartz noticed Jennings had great finishing speed on his score:
So much for a sustained offensive drive. Rashad Jennings takes it through the right side 73 yards for a TD. Good finishing speed. #nyg— Paul Schwartz (@NYPost_Schwartz) August 9, 2014
Williams had a solid performance himself, garnering 35 yards on seven carries in the first half. However, there was no highlight play to be had and therefore little to suggest that he should unseat Jennings for a starting role.
However, CBS Sports' Shaun Morash thinks both players have a chance to become famous names this season:
Rashaad Jennings and Andre Williams will be household names by December #Giants— Shaun Morash (@ShaunMorashCBS) August 9, 2014
The burly Jennings has been honing in on the starting role after spending years as a backup with the Oakland Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars.
"I always go in a tunnel during the season, but when I looked up at the end last year I think I had seven starts and I ended up with (733 yards), you do get eager,” he said, via the New York Daily News' Ralph Vacchiano. “And not just for numbers. It’s just that little kid in me that always wanted to play running back and was told ‘You can’t. Too fat. Too slow.'"
Running back David Wilson's unfortunate neck injury—which forced him into an early retirement—portends a bigger role for both Williams and Jennings this season. They should both see an uptick in their projected fantasy value, but if Jennings continues his strong performances, he should get the lion's share of carries.
It should also be noted that neither player tallied a catch during the contest. If Williams wants to show that he deserves a bigger role in the offense, he may have to find a way to best Jennings as an option in the passing game.