Even though this may not be the right time to discuss this to the media, the Giants should start thinking about it internally.
Brandon Jacobs needs to be brought back.
Forget his 6’4 265 pound frame for a second. I know it’s hard to, but let’s try it anyway. A former fourth round pick from Southern Illinois, Jacobs has evolved into one of the leaders on this Giants squad. He has helped provide the fire that football pundits said the Giants would lose with Shockey gone. Thanks to Jacobs, Michael Strahan’s infamous “Stomp you out!” tradition before every game has been kept alive. Jacobs has upheld that this year, as it is him that screams his brains out at 52 other Giants to get them pumped before every game. He is a team leader now.
Gone is his seemingly weekly trash talking dates with the most outspoken players on other teams. That can be traced all the way back to mid-January before the Giants date with the Cowboys, where Patrick Crayton did everything possible to incite Jacobs to talk. He didn’t take the bait.
“I don't even want to talk about no --- Patrick Crayton. I don't know what they're trying to do, but I'm focused on the task at hand."
When Jacobs responded with nothing, Giants fans were stunned. Throughout the season, Jacobs was making Joey Porter look like a saint with his pre-game trash talk. Now he was declining a feud between the Cowboys second-most arrogant player.
Any thoughts that this was a fluke were ended after Brandon Jacobs declined to respond to Corey Williams calling Jacobs and the Giants offensive line “soft” and saying that Jacobs tip-toes when he gets hit. Instead, Jacobs let his talking be on the field. Just the way Tom Coughlin likes it.
The fact that Jacobs has turned this proverbial corner and has mellowed out in his interviews proves that he has bought into Tom Coughlin’s system. With that, he can evolve into one of the team’s true leaders and be a model for the rest of the Giants players.
Okay, now you can go back to remembering his gargantuan frame and abnormal speed.
He is a freak of nature in every sense of the word. And he may be the league’s most consistent runner. In 2007 he averaged five yards a carry with a long of 34 yards. Usually, players in the league that compile five YPC have long rushes that boost the average. Not Jacobs. He gets eight, then four, then six, then four, then two, then twelve. Very rarely does he get stuffed behind the line and in the event that he does, he keeps his body moving forward at least manages a couple of yards.
When stock market projectors even knew he was getting the ball, Jacobs was the one that kept the Giants Super Bowl hopes alive on a second effort on fourth and one.
The one beef with Jacobs has been that he is too big of a target to last in the league, and that he had two injuries that kept him out for a substantial amount of time. This may have been true in 2007, but in 2008 he is a different runner. He is staying much lower, and is leaving himself less exposed to hits that could get him injured. Don’t take my word for it; Lofa Tatupu is one of the brightest linebackers in the league, and he picked up on that too.
In an offense where pass blocking is crucial, Jacobs has proven to be one of the best in the league at picking up linebackers or safeties flying in for Eli Manning’s head. On the game-winning touchdown pass in the Super Bowl, Jacobs halted Rodney Harrison in his tracks and contributed to Manning’s clean pocket. Jacobs does that regularly, he is a brick wall when it comes to pass blocking.
It’s likely that at least one of the Earth, Wind, and Fire backs will be gone. Both Ward and Jacobs are free agents, and each are likely to commend big deals. Even though Ahmad Bradshaw is a viable starting back, the Giants are going to do their best to keep these guys together for a long time. However, Brandon Jacobs has become the heart of this Giants offensive machine, and must be locked up.
There is no doubt that his pending free agent will garner interest from several other teams. He is such a unique player, the only thing that would have a team weary is that his irregular strengths might wind up being his downfall. Can his body handle the beating at least 16 games a year? If he slows down, will he still be somewhat effective? All of these factors had the Giants reluctant to lock him up in pre-season. But with what Jacobs has to offer, he can transform any team's rushing game into a top one and bring a swagger that very few can.
The Giants just better make sure it's for them.