There has. justifiably, been a great deal of talk about the need for the New York Giants to improve their running game in 2012. After all, the Giants did finish last in the NFL in rushing in 2011.
By extension, there has been a lot of talk about the running backs. Starter Ahmad Bradshaw is healthy and has been practicing regularly, something he could not always do last season. First-round pick David Wilson generates lots of excitement. Andre Brown, Da'Rel Scott and Joe Martinek have all gotten varying degrees of attention as they battle to make the 53-man roster.
Nobody, though, is talking about D.J. Ware. The 27-year-old Ware is already entering his sixth NFL season. He finally got an opportunity last season to play consistently. He caught 27 passes being used primarily as a third-down back, and carried the ball 46 times for 163 yards (3.5 yards per carry).
Ware said he does not feel overlooked despite all the attention being lavished on the players around him.
"Not at all," Ware said. "They (the Giants) know what I can do now. I think that means they're just going to let me go out there and play ball and see what happens."
There are faster running backs on the roster, like Wilson and Scott. There is a bigger guy like Brown, who is 240 pounds now. There is the local favorite in Martinek. Ware can catch the ball. He can pass protect. He can run it when called upon. The biggest thing he has going for him right now, though, is that he has already shown the coaching staff he can contribute when it counts.
"I think I earned a lot of trust," Ware said. "Last year I got to play a lot on third down. I got to get a lot of protections, picking up blitzes for Eli. Now I think I'm a little more comfortable and I think the guys have a little more faith in me now They know they can put me in any situation."
With Brandon Jacobs gone, Wilson still learning his craft, Bradshaw's feet always a question mark and Brown, Scott and Martinek trying to earn roster spots that trust factor is a huge plus for Ware. Now we need to see how far it can take him.