New York Giants: Bradshaw Holds Key to Ground Game

Pro Football NYCSenior Writer IAugust 13, 2009

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 16:  Ahmad Bradshaw #44 of the New York Giants of the Baltimore Ravens during their game on November 16, 2008 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

by John Fennelly / Publisher,

The Giants pride themselves on being a "run-first" team.

The last time the Giants did not have a 1,000-yard rusher was 2001. Last season they became part of an elite group when both Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward both breached the 1, 000 yard mark.

2008 was perhaps the Giants' best rushing season ever. They led the league in rushing yards with 2,518 and averaged an incredible 5.0 yards per carry.

This season, Ward is gone, a casualty of excess. He signed with Tampa Bay in the offseason. That means that more focus will be put on Jacobs. The Giants realize that Jacobs, who is known as "Earth", is a tough inside runner who scares the bejesus out of defenses. They also know that even he can only bear so much of the load coming out of the backfield.

In years past, Ward, known as "Wind", would relieve Jacobs and blanch defenses with his contrasting elusiveness. After Ward, usually later in contests, the Giants would ratchet up the speed with Ahmad Bradshaw, known as "Fire".

Bradshaw has the ability to run through and by defenders, making them look statuesque. He was a luxury, a show of depth that demoralized opponents. Now he moves up the depth chart as Jacobs' primary reliever.

Joining Bradshaw in the backfield is the talented but widely untested Danny Ware and rookie Andre Brown, whose style resembles Ward. Their inexperience has raised questions whether the Giants will continue to dominate with their ground game.

Their past performance says they will. The offensive line is still intact. RB coach Jerald Ingram is still here. They withstood the loss of the great Tiki Barber and even won a championship without him. That being said, losing Ward may not be as great a hurdle as detractors are making it out to be.

The key is Bradshaw. He has been clamoring for more carries, and now he will get them. We could be on the precipice of a new era of offensive firepower. Bradshaw has shown flashes of greatness. Could we be looking at the next Giants' superstar?