Giants By The Numbers: 39 Is For ...

via assets.giants.com The New York Giants' running game relies on Madison Hedgecock to be an extra offensive lineman, clearing a path for running backs.

Madison Hedgecock.

Yes, our very own current New York Giants' bulldozer, er, blocking fullback.

We know Hedgecock's story. The 6-foot-3, 266-pound fullback came to the Giants early in 2007 after foolishly being released by the St. Louis Rams. His ability to pave holes for Giants running backs, handling defensive ends and linebackers, changed the Giants' running game.

Hedgecock's blocking was a key factor is the success of the offense in both the Super Bowl season of 2007 and again in 2008, when the Giants were the best rushing team in the league. Hedgecock's blocking earned him second-team All Pro honors and a spot as a Pro Bowl alternate in 2008.

In 2009, Hedgecock's injured shoulder was one of the many factors behind the decline to mediocrity of the rushing attack. Blocking with basically one arm, Hedgecock simply could not move or seal defenders as he had in previous seasons.

The Giants need him to return to health in 2010 to play the type of efficient offense that they prefer to employ.

From Hedgecock's Wikipedia entry.

"Madison's arrival was very important and he has given us a physical presence at that position," offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said. "He's not overwhelmed by being one-on-one with those linebackers. We're not a West Coast fullback. When you're at fullback, you're in there to block. Maybe we'll throw you the ball once in a while. He fits the definition of the position for us."

"Excellent fit," coach Tom Coughlin added. "A physical, lead-blocking fullback that has good hands and can be a factor in the play-action game. And he’s done an outstanding job on special teams on the wedge on kickoff returns and has brought physical toughness to our team."

In three seasons with the Giants, Hedgecock has caught 18 passes -- two for touchdowns. He has run the ball only once, gaining no yards. Clearly, his value to the Giants is in leading other backs and not in having the ball in his hands.

Others who wore 39

Hugh McElhenny played one year of his 13-year Hall of Fame career with the Giants. In 1962, near the end of a brilliant career, he gained 175 yards on 55 carries as a reserve running back.

Larry Csonka played three years with the Giants (1976-78) after seven tremendous seasons in Miami and one season wasted in the World Football League. He totaled 1,344 yards (3.5 per carry) while with the Giants. He also had a key role in a certain play we won't talk about.

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