Q: What are your thoughts about Andre Brown?
A: He has potential just like all of the other people we have brought in here. We are excited about developing this young man. He has size, he has quickness, he has receiving ability out of the backfield. He does have some – which you had an opportunity to see last week – pretty good run instinct in between the tackles. And obviously you are enamored with his size and those kinds of things. But he is young right now. And like I said, he will be one of the good Giants that will get a chance to develop. And he has some good guys to work with and learn from. Brandon Jacobs has been here a while and he has learned a lot of things and he has learned from other people. And I think this guy will too. And obviously you are trying to replace a guy like Derrick Ward in our pass receiving chores as well as first and second down as being able to catch the ball out of the backfield. We will miss that until we get going. Danny Ware we are pretty excited about. Ahmad Bradshaw has done some of those things as well. So it is good to have great competition in the backfield. We have a good group of guys here that we will continue on with what we are doing and just try to be the best attitude running backs in the NFL that we can be.
Q: It is tough to make comparisons with rookies, especially this early.
A: Very early.
Q: But since Jerry Reese already did it, I’m going to ask you to do it. Derrick Ward and Andre Brown, he said that they are kind of similar. Do you see that?
A: No, not really. I just see that Derrick has quicker feet. And it is hard to compare right now because in the NFL you don’t want to compare anyone from that standpoint because everybody has their own style, okay. Brandon has his style, Ahmad has his style, Danny Ware has his style; very stylish type runner. Fred Taylor has his style. Every runner has their own style. This guy is going to have his own style. Derrick has his own style. And we are looking forward to what he has to give to us. But I think he is a good size, big bruising kind of guy with good feet, good athletic ability. And time will tell to see what else. Because no matter what a running back does in the NFL, it is all based on performance.
Q: It is too early for any kind of game plans right now, but do you anticipate Brandon being more – last year was almost a 1-2, a 1-1 kind of thing, the way those guys played – they both had 1,000 yards. Do you anticipate maybe a little more of a Brandon and the other guys or do you like that sharing of the role?
A: I think we always like the sharing of the role because nowadays in the NFL and the amount of punishment that these running backs take, having a fresh guy on the field, and as you saw what we tried to do, we tried to have the one, two and three punch in that third and fourth quarter and having your change of pace guy coming in …… How the linebackers in the secondary are able to adjust to a guy like that as opposed to having that fourth quarter big bruising kind of guy that just wears people down while trying to have that big bruising guy play four quarters and still have him be big and bruising in the fourth quarter doesn’t always happen, because these defenses get paid, too. So backs nowadays are taking more hits in the knees and the ankles and legs than I have ever seen before. So they take abuse out there. So having that 1-2 punch, having that freshness on the field, having that commonality that we are all in this together and we are growing and we are finding ways to win and there is no drop-off, I think it is an edge for us towards the defense. When you are always looking for an edge because now they don’t know who is on the field and they always have to adjust to who is on the field and how we play them and how the game goes. So I think it is an advantage for us that we want to continue with.
Q: What does Ahmad have to do to become a #2 back as opposed to that fourth quarter change guy?
A: Get a chance to play. It is hard to play two guys, let alone three. You have to design and you have to have a feel for the game as the game goes on. When does that guy come on? When is the situation – how are things progressing as the game goes? We have seen this guy play during that stretch in the Super Bowl and you honor him for being a rookie and young to take upon those things. There is one thing about Ahmad Bradshaw, he is not afraid of any challenge. He is a little man that plays big; very big. He never lets the --- the first guy hardly ever brings him down. He has the ability to make people miss. He has that tough mentality. He just had to learn how to be as versatile as he can be within our offense being able to pick up linebackers; we feel good that he stands tall with them as well as cuts them down and not always cut them down, also being able to show his receiving skills, because he can catch the ball out of the backfield. I think any way that the ball gets in his hands; I think he is always trying to find a way to be productive. And he is a tough guy and we love that kind of attitude.
Q: Did he do a lot of catching in college? He hasn’t done much with you guys yet.
A: Yeah, he did. He did at Marshall. He ran the go-screens there; he ran some things out of the backfield. So he has done those kinds of things. But when you involve the protections and the third-down protections and all of the blitzes that you get on defense, our running backs do -- we ask them to do an awful lot. It is not like they are blocking a man on man outside. They have to block from one side to the opposite side and the matchups as well that they have. And at the same time they are also helping offensive tackles chip. We ask them at this level of ball to do an awful lot more than they have ever had to do in college.
Q: You don’t seem to throw the ball to the running backs as much as you used to when Tiki was here. Obviously he had some incredible skills. Is that just a product of different guys or a change in the offense?
A: No, I think sometimes it just depends on the how the defense decides to attack you. And they want to take some of your upper level routes and give you underneath. Some years your receivers are going to catch 55-60 – hopefully 80 times --- but they are letting you know that …….for your vertical game. So it allows you to be able to throw to your backs underneath. Now, here is the thing – when you start throwing to your backs underneath, your run after catch production goes way up because you are talking about a run skill guy with the ball in his hands and being very productive – in a Westbrook, a Jones-Drew at Jacksonville, and those kind of things. So you start designing go-screens and screens and underneath routes that also involve your upper level, upper vertical routes as well. But you have a highly skilled runner with the ball in his hands. So sometimes we tell our backs that a pass is as good as run. What the heck difference is it if we run a toss or throw a five-yard pass that turns into 60 yards? You are still -- the matchup with you on the linebacker -- the linebacker who has drop responsibility and he is trying to come one on one with you, sometimes you have a little bit more chance to make plays in space.
Q: I know you want to mix and match the backs, get them all touches and stuff, but going in at this point would it be fair to say that one guy would be your preferred third-down guy? Or would you not want to do that at all?
A: Well, Brandon has done that in the past and what we have tried to do is every spring we try to target someone who has that role; or a few people, as well as our two-minute offense. They change the pace, the tempo ….who knows who is out there on the field. That is what helped us out a year ago, the first two or three series you have Brandon, but third down, your third-down back is on the field. Well sometimes he is out there, depending on how the game is going, our third-down back is out doing pretty good, he is pretty solid. And you have that good run/pass mix. Kevin (Gilbride) has done a great job of having a great run/pass mix on third-down as well; probably as well as anybody. ……. good at running the ball on third-down. So there are some opportunities there. But, yes, we do try to target a guy who has that kind of role. But right now we are going to go in there and Ahmad will start off in there, Danny will be in there and we will go from there.