Brandon Jacobs: A Giant Difference Maker?

Chris ValContributor IDecember 17, 2008

Undoubtedly, Brandon Jacobs has been one of the Giants' biggest reasons for success in the '08/'09 season, behind the Giants' tremendous offensive line, of course.

Brandon Jacobs is a player that can do it all, which is outstanding considering his frame, 6'4" and 264 pounds. Not the type of player a football expert would consider to be running out of the back field, but Jacobs lets his athletic ability and significant play do his talking for him.

His ability to run over a linebacker and then possibly shake a defensive back out of their shoes, needless to say, is something rarely ever seen from a back his size.   

In 12 out of the 14 games the Giants have played this season, Jacobs has contributed for 1002 yards, 12 touchdowns, 5.1 yards per carry and 83.5 yards per game. So, considering Jacobs as a huge part of the Giants offense is not an over statement at all, to say the least.  

Jacobs is a player in which every opponent needs to game plan for, while is also every defensive backs nightmare and possibly many linebackers at the same token. Stopping the 6'4", 264 pound frame is no easy task, especially when he bulldozes through you once or twice. 

So when a defensive player see's him coming at him a third time, it's not unfair to assume that they will most likely cringe just at the thought of trying to bring him down again. 

Jacobs brings a totally different component to the game when he is on the field.  He forces the defense to put eight or nine guys in the box on first and second downs, giving Eli Manning the option to audible the play, or to give Kevin Gilbride the opportunity to be a bit more creative in the play calling. 

Thus, letting Manning throw for a few consecutive first downs in a depleted backfield when the defense is geared up to stop the run. 

Jacobs brings yet another component to the Giants game plan, which is selling an effective play action pass. While the safety's are up on first and second downs to gear up for the run, it leaves cornerbacks with no safety help over the top, exposing the defense to a big pass play down field. 

Or, when Jacobs is effectively running the ball, it forces the safety's to over pursue and look for the rush before the pass, which then freezes the safety and leaves for a wide open Domenik Hixon or Amani Toomer.

In turn, not only will it be a long day for the linebackers hitting Jacobs, but it will be just as long for the safety's trying to stay balanced in the way they attack the ball. 

With Brandon Jacobs in the game, he totally changes the Giants' game plan and what they can do on offense. If you don't believe me, just take a look at some highlights of the Dallas game while Jacobs was inactive in Week 15.

Dallas was able to keep some of their linebackers off the field, while stacking up four to six defensive backs to play the pass.  

Well, why wouldn't the Giants just run the ball, you may ask?  Well, without your No. 1 running back, it was tough for Derrick Ward to find a groove and their was very limited push from the offensive line. The Defensive line and linebackers did a great job of filling the gaps and really knocking around the offensive linemen along with Derrick Ward. 

Still, one would think, with only a four-man rush, Eli Manning would have all day in the pocket to throw the ball where a receiver would eventually get open and perhaps be able to spread the field? 

Negative, with the speed of DeMarcus Ware from the end and the power of Greg Ellis and Chris Canty up the middle, Eli Manning had almost less than three seconds to get the ball off almost every time he would drop back, which would be a long day for any quarterback. 

So, legitimately if the line couldn't block and if Manning had almost no time to throw, wouldn't the outcome have been the same even if Jacobs was in the starting line up?  No, when a team has a guy like Jacobs in the backfield, he forces the defense to respect what he can do on the field. 

He forces the defense to game plan against him, which takes tremendous pressure off the passing game. 

When Eli Manning and Brandon Jacobs can both put up good numbers the Giants are nearly invincible. When Eli Manning throws for a 73.5 passer rating or higher, while Jacobs puts up at least 100 yards, the Giants are 11-0. When either Eli Manning or Brandon Jacobs score at least two touchdowns in one game, the Giants are 6-0.  

So, the necessity for Brandon Jacobs to be in the starting lineup is crucial for the Giants and opens up major opportunities for Eli Manning to then throw the ball down field. When it's all said and done, Brandon Jacobs is a Giant difference maker for the New York Football Giants.

But he is more than just running defenders over and instilling an intimidation factor. He also makes a defensive coordinator work for his paycheck for that upcoming week.