Brandon Jacobs' name has been bandied about ever since word got out last week that the New York Giants were working out running backs in the wake of Andre Brown being placed on short-term injured reserve. Even when word surfaced that Jacobs would be part of the group of backs working out for the team Tuesday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center I have to admit I was skeptical that the Giants were actually serious about bringing The Beast back to the Meadowlands.
I thought the Giants might simply be bringing in Jacobs, who gained 4,849 yards rushing for the team from 2005-2011, as a courtesy. I suspected they might bring a back like Willis McGahee, who also worked out Tuesday, or Beanie Wells, a younger player who worked out last week.
Both of those players have been more productive in recent seasons than Jacobs, who gained 571 yards and averaged 3.8 yards per carry for the Giants in 2011 and got only 5 carries for 7 yards in two games before being released last season by the San Francisco 49ers.
In retrospect, however, I should have seen this move coming.
Provided he was healthy, in playing shape, and still moving well for aman who weighs 265 pounds or more this was probably Jacobs' roster spot to lose all along. Thinking about it now that the move is official, it makes sense on many levels.
The Giants desperately needed a veteran back to add to David Wilson, Da'Rel Scott and Michael Cox. Not only that, they don't have to time wait three weeks for someone to learn the nuances of the offense. Kevin Gilbride has been with the Giants since before Jacobs was drafted in 2005, and called plays most of Jacobs' career. Thus, that is not an issue.
"I’m ready to go," Jacobs said. "If I need to go Sunday, I can go Sunday. There’s no issue.
"I know the offense. I know they’ve made some tweaks here and there, and I’ll do whatever I have to do."
Without Brown they needed a power back who could run inside. Jacobs, while not always the best short-yardage runner, is certainly a powerful presence running between the tackles who has always been able to punish defenders.
The Giants needed a back who they could trust and who would not struggle with ball-security. Jacobs has fumbled only 18 times in 1,163 career touches rushing and receiving. That is once every 64.6 touches, or about every five games the way NFL backs are now utilized. After David Wilson's Sunday night fumble-fest he has three fumbles in 82 career touches, one every 27.3 touches.
The Giants, having cut Ahmad Bradshaw in the offseason, can benefit from the fact that Jacobs really is a Giant at heart, wanted desperately to be there, and has no adjustment to make to the ways of head coach Tom Coughlin.
"The Giants have given me a great opportunity. This is where I wanted to be. These are the coaches I want to play for and I wanted to come back with my teammates," Jacobs said. "This is the place I love most."
Finally, and maybe most important of all, the Giants needed someone who could mentor Wilson -- who is still their future and their most important back despite Sunday's disaster. Jacobs, with two rings, having been through a myriad of ups and downs in his career, and being as thrilled as he is to be back in the league in the place that was his first choice all along, is the perfect player to do that.
I am only surprised that I really didn't see it coming.
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