Earth, Wind and Fire: The New York Giants' Three-Headed Monster

Alex McVeighSenior Analyst INovember 6, 2008

We've all seen the rise of the "running back by committee" movement that has come along. In addition to torturing fantasy owners, it has led to a lot of wear and tear being taken out of the normal career of a running back.

The "Thunder and Lightning" tandem has increased in popularity, whether is was Bush and White at USC, Barber and Jacobs in New York, or countless others.

But this year's New York Giants have taken it to the next level, introducing a three-headed running monster that, combined with a stellar offensive line, and an Eli Manning firing on all cylinders, has led to the G-Men being the most complete team in the game.

Let's take a look at them individually.

Brandon Jacobs, "Earth"

If I were a linebacker or safety (especially in the NFC East), Brandon Jacobs would haunt me in my deepest nightmares. With the exception of Ray Lewis, I don't think any player in the secondary wants to see Brandon Jacobs running at them with a full head of steam.

Notice the word choice in the last sentence. Running at them. Not running in their direction, running at them. In these days of flashy running backs that can break ankles, Jacobs will run right at you, knowing that at this size, there's no way a safety can take him down.

And why should he run away? He operates on the philosophy that "if you're down, you can't trip me from behind." And he takes it a step further, saying "I'm going to take you down myself, just to make sure you don't come after me."

Can you imagine what LaRon Landry was thinking in Week One, when Jacobs was charging at him? Whatever it was, I'm pretty sure you can't print it.

Derrick Ward, "Wind"

Ward is more of a straightforward running back. He's good when getting to the outside and better up the middle. When he shares touches with Jacobs, he inherits a beaten down secondary, and when he gets holes, he can make them pay with his fresh legs.

While fans of Big Blue are clamoring to get Bradshaw on the field, it's hard to bench Ward. He is performing well as Jacobs' understudy and making his touches count for something.

You've got a bruiser, a wild-card, and an all-purpose back. If the Giants were ever able to sign Clinton Portis as the master of disguise, you've got the A-Team.

Ahmad Bradshaw, "Fire"

As a back who will leave more broken ankles in his wake than rollerblades, Bradshaw has got unbelievable moves in space.

Don't believe me? Watch him shred the vaunted Pats' defense in the Super Bowl last year. Or the vaunted Packers defense in what would have been a game winning 50-yard run that was called back.

And that was as a rookie.

To utilize him more effectively, he could be put out wide and thrown to in the flat. If given some space, especially in one-on-one coverage, he can be deadly. 

Imagine this scenario: Plax and Toomer out wide. Smith in the slot. Boss running a route. Well, you double team Plax of course. But what if Bradshaw's out there. He runs a flat pattern, you've only got one person, maybe a slow outside linebacker on him. You run everyone else inside on a slant, and all of a sudden, Bradshaw's got a whole sideline by himself, save for one slow-footed linebacker.

The only downside to him is his lack of touches. While Giants fans understandably want to see more from him, it's hard to take "Fire" off of the field when he is producing.


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