Our current stable of healthy RB's is not very good. A couple of observations. A great running back has tremendous vision, balance, speed and strength plus good hands and awareness.
A couple of musings on the Giants running game. Not anything prolific, some feelings I haven't read in a lot of other places. It is easy to blame the line which is terrible. But what role (if any) have the backs had?
- Ahmad Bradshaw: Great Vision, Great Balance, Good Strength, Good Hands, Average Straight Line Speed. He can make a 5-25 yard gainer out of very little. His only weakness that I see in his game (besides injuries) is he does not have elite straight line speed. That said he is a top flight RB. Unfortunately he is hurt.
- Brandon Jacobs: Average Vision, Great Strength, Poor Hands, Below Average Straight Line Speed (he seems to have lost a step), Disappointing Balance (How does he get stood up and tripped up so easily so often?). Jacobs at this stage of his career is a nice change of pace back. (See Marion Barber in Chicago.) He is great for some niche plays, but doesn't seem to have a consistent burst throughout the game. He also has an annoying habit of tiptoeing into the hole which with our line will last a mili-second. He also has zero chance of busting a run from scrimmage for more than 20 yards. Rocky Bernard could run him down from behind.
- DJ Ware: Average Vision, Average Strength, Above Average Hands, Average Straight Line Speed, Average Balance. Ware seems to me to be... well... average. He is a nice #3 back on a team with a good line. His problem is he is on a team with a bad line. He can pull off a long run here and there, but he is no threat to take it to the house. Again I see him as a nice #3 back with no skills that stand out as exceptional.
- Darell Scott: Poor Vision was his knock coming out of college. Of course we haven't seen enough of him to be sure but it seems like his vision is not elite. Strength Average (?) I haven't seen enough to make a fair rating. Hands (All I know is they are better than Devin Thomas'), Straight Line Speed, elite. Probably one of the 10 fastest straight line backs in the NFL. Balance (?) Seems at least average but the jury is still out.
One of the things that strikes me about our backs is that Scott is the only one who has the speed to take an 80 yard run to the house. With Bradshaw hurt our backs are not going to scare anyone when we line up at our own 20. Chances are if we run it they will stuff us at the line. But, even if it is blocked well, our backs aren't much of a threat to take it past the 30. The lack of fear is hurting out pass game. Teams can drop extra guys into coverage double team Nicks with safeties deep and look to choke the passing game.
Few of my suggestions.
- Keep working Scott in more. He is the only healthy back right now who I believe has big play potential. I would like to see him isolated on an LB in coverage (kinda like the Eagles did with Shady on Kiwi). See if you can hit him deep out of the backfield.
- Make Jacobs run straight inside the tackles. I'm so sick of him tiptoeing around the edges. Tell him to get three yards and a cloud of dust ala Rodney Hampton.
- Pray for Ahmad Bradshaw. He is by far our best back. Remember how the running game was coming around (relatively speaking) before he got hurt?