Q. Running back roles
Derrick (Ward) was our number one pass protector. He would solidify the linebackers in the hole. Obviously if you are in that type of backfield set protecting and throwing the ball, then he has to handle the runs in those type of things, as opposed to being picked on and having the little guys being blitzed and penetrating. Early in the year it hurt us a little bit to not have Danny Ware. We had anticipations of Danny being that third down type of guy who could do those things that Derrick Ward did a year ago. But he got hurt early. So now you end up taking a step backwards. Now it ends up being a new guy in those kinds of capacities. Last year (Brandon) was the beast, going downhill doing the things that he does best. And that is what you expect him to do. He had to shift gears. I don’t see him other than when we are suiting certain things to him doing well, which is running down hill and attack people. When people are unblocked in front of him he runs them over.
Q. The last couple of games he looks to be more downhill?
A. We gave him more downhill types of runs.
Q. Was that more you or him?
A. Right, right, yeah. Now that you have Danny back. Danny has been sitting there but he has one arm. We were a little worried about ball security; that is the number one thing you worry about when a running back comes off an arm injury. He has fresh legs, we know what he can do running the ball, but can he hold onto the ball, protect the quarterback, and take the hit. We bypassed that a little bit, we threw him out there. We will get back on track doing those types of things. Doing what he can do best, with the other people in our backfield doing what they do.
Q. It sounds like you are attributing some of Brandon’s early season struggles to the fact that you were forced to use him in situations that don’t necessarily suit his game?
A. Yeah, like I said, when you have a guy who is 6’4 going east and west and has to follow a pulling guard and those types of things, he is going to be right on top of him. Whenever he has to slow down and then restart again, it’s not like a quick-stepper, a quick-stepper darts and has acceleration. Those long steppers, for years we used to play Eddie George, we used to say ‘how do you stop Eddie George?’ You make them restart. Because those long striders can’t restart. Those guys who were like that a little bit, Eric Dickerson, but he was a glider and then he could burst. What would you say about him now; you wouldn’t accept that for being patient? These long strider type of guys, they are suited for one cut, downhill, hit and get it. If there are moving parts, then you have to accept that they have to be patient and when they do get going again it takes another. But when you have quicker, dartier guys, the impression is what, it looks quick, it looks fast. The only thing they do is bounce. They bounce all over the place until they find the next hole. Let a guy who is six-four try to bounce and go from one hole to the next hole, based off how the defense is trying to plug holes. The perception is going to look like a guy who is tippy toeing through the hole because he is still trying to find where the hole is. The darter who does it accelerates and gets to the third hole. Because he has shorter, quicker feet. He can shift gears and change directions. He can do all those things. Long striders, they can’t. If you make those guys restart, you have accomplished your game. Brandon is such an oddity at 6’4 , 265 pounds, if he ever gets eight yards past the line of scrimmage, who wants to really tackle him. Who? Those older 6’4 guys when they got in the open field, I don’t know if they were as fast as this guy. He has a lot of things and he is still growing and developing. He is best-suited to be going downhill and he loves doing those things. He will do whatever he has to do.
Q. These developing runs, hasn’t he been doing that in this offense for the past couple of years?
A. Barely. Derrick was. If you remember when we were in three wide, that was Derrick Ward most of the time. When he had to have a breather or had to handle the two-minute situations, you saw the same thing you saw right now. Other than that, Derrick was shifty enough to be able to bounce, he had great quick feet. That is what Ahmad has. We did win a Super Bowl with Ahmad now. We used him in the same capacity. Those kinds of runs, it was Ahmad and the downhill runs that we started running over the Michigan kid were Brandon Jacobs. Set the tone, be the attitude of what we are and the identity of who we are. We have always gone to defensive players and said ‘in the month of November and December who do you want to hit?’ You don’t want to hit early in the game Brandon Jacobs. So you wear them down with Brandon Jacobs and then all of a sudden you have the speed change up guy who comes in, now they are like, ‘Wow, I am grasping for air,’ because it is a different kind of guy who comes into the game.
Q. Going into this bye week do you now look at it as he is running well in what he has to do, Danny is coming back and we haven’t even reached the potential of what this group can do?
A. No, I don’t think so. We are still progressing and developing. Danny has barely been on the field as a player for us. But, we see all this potential. He can catch the ball, run the ball, he is big enough to protect. The guy who we lost this year, he fits that mold what we want. Ahmad is small, but he plays big. But can he always hold up in the pass game, other than cut people down.
Q. He did a good job of that the other night but you don’t always want that
A. After a while they end up knowing what you are doing and what that guy is going to do. The Giants went through that with Dave Meggett when he was here, too. They had success with Dave Meggett doing those kinds of things in certain situations. But you have a luxury of three guys, and back then they had the luxury of two. Then being able to be fresh and have a rotation. We are trying at the end of the year to have guys who are fresh that come on the field. That is what happened a year ago when Ahmad Bradshaw got on the field in the third and fourth quarter, he gave us a fresh spark of energy that the defense wasn’t ready for. We are hoping that Danny Ware can do that, too, but maybe Danny Ware goes back to where we wanted him to be in that third down kind of guy. You got your banger, your third down back, and your speed change up guy and away we go. We put it on our shoulders and we try to motivate the offense as well as the defense and get everybody happy.