N.Y. Giants: When Big Jake Rumbles It's the Rest of the NFL That Quivers
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He came to N.Y. as a little known 6'4" 265 lb. behometh out of Southern Illinois, the long ago home of Knick legend Walt 'Clyde' Frazier and maybe that should have been the first clue right there.
How he even got to the great Saluki state to begin with had to do with depth charts, he was number three on the board at big time Auburn U. which featured future NFL runners Cadillac Williams and Ronnie Brown, both slated for superstardom back then, so we can presume the seemingly ever present chip on Brandon Jacobs massive shoulders started forming at some point around that time.
He made an immediate impact for the Giants in 2005, backing up Tiki Barber, more so filling in on short yardage to the tune of 7 T.D.'s and laying some bone crushing licks on special teams too. You didn't have to have a particularly formidable eye or foresight to see this guy might have something really special ... he was huge, as big as a defensive end, bigger than most linebackers, and he was fast, had sprinters speed, at least to the extent someone of that size could plausibly muster.
In 2006 he started spelling Tiki Barber with a greater degree of frequency, even with all the short yardage stuff he still carried 96 times for 423 yards, a 4.4. clip, but more important than the numbers themselves was the impact he could have on a game. A defense might come in thinking, talking, huffing and puffing about shoving Eli and the frequently tenuous offensive attack back into never, never land and the next thing you knew Jacobs was plowing past the line of scrimmage taking on linebackers, exceedingly unfortunate safeties and/or corners gutsy enough to risk mind and body trying to lay a lick his way, and simply pile driving them not so much into the turf itself but quite literally thru it.
He quickly became the great neutralizer, the one player on the Giants who could emphatically put a physical imprint on the opposition, make them cringe, quiver, even send them stretchered off the field of play, and when Tiki Barber took an early flyer in the 2006 off season Big Jake more or less got handed the reigns outright.
The result, while not the strictly due to the efforts of Jacobs, Super Bowls are not won that way, was nevertheless a ring in 2007, consecutive 1,000 yard, 5.0 yards per carry seasons, and while the Giants 2008 campaign fell apart amidst the fiasco of the Plaxico Burress trauma it could be seen as no fault of Jacobs and as a result Giant management rewarded their fleet footed bruiser with a handsome multi year, multi million dollar deal heading into 2009.
And things kind of went south from there. The Brandon Jacobs who had imprinted himself on the minds and emotional beings of Giants fans and laid cleats to the chests of endless opposition defenders suddenly left the scene. The fierce north/south nature of his forays suddenly became adventures in Cha, Cha, Cha dances ... Big Jake was seeking out holes instead of blasting through them and the diminished returns, the overall lack of yardage gained at less than four yards per carry jumped out at followers of the team as increasingly alarming amidst a season that was soon to become an utter wasteland.
There had always been some questions about his ability to stay healthy thru all the big hits he took in return, some issues with his knees, and finally, his mental fragility. This can happen to any player, an inability to accept a diminished performance. He was still out there working, practicing hard, the frustration on his part clearly grew and early on this season began to manifest itself in increasingly out of control behavior.
First he was unhappy over having lost his starting job to mighty, mite Ahmad Bradshaw and said so. There was a helmet throwing incident, that is a helmet thrown into the stands, and a variety of other out of control tirades. Finally though, it seems to have dawned on the big man that the best place to take out his fury, and not coincidentally the best place for the team as well, is on the opposition, and quite suddenly, these last several weeks at least, the Brandon Jacobs of 2010 looks an awful lot like the Brandon Jacobs of 2007 & 2008.
And that doesn't bode well for the rest of the NFC as the season turns cold, sometimes bitter cold and not just the picture, but the actual figure of a 6'4" 265 lb. rampaging rhino comes hurtling down the field. I mean in most cases you're only going to step in front of that kind of very dangerous energy source with a weapon of some kind, not just mere limbs.
Thus, the warning shot has been sounded Giant fans. Brandon Jacobs is back, he's fresh, and ready to rumble. Weaponless defenders around the NFC have no doubt taken notice.
And the ground is shaking.
That's it for now,
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