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The running back question

Next up in my series on off-season questions facing the dethroned New York Giants is the running back situation.

In reality, I don't think this is a question at all. I think it is obvious what the Giants must do.

Brandon Jacobs stays. Derrick Ward goes, unfortunately. Ahmad Bradshaw becomes the No. 2 back.

Brandon Jacobs

Yes, there are questions about his durability. Big backs like Jacobs take a pounding and tend to have shortened careers (see Earl Campbell, Christian Okoye). But, the 6-foot-4, 270-pound Jacobs is the guy who gives the Giants offense its personality, its swagger. Whether offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride recognizes it or not, Jacobs is the one guy on the Giants who is feared by opposing defenses.

He has two straight 1,000-yard seasons, and probably at least a couple more in him before the pounding begins to take its toll.

Jacobs is a free agent and I say pay the man. Forget the durability issues. He is a difference maker, and the Giants have lost too many of those in the last 12 months. They can't let another one walk away.

Rushing Receiving
G Rush Yds Y/G Avg Lng TD Rec Yds Y/G Avg Lng TD
2008 - Brandon Jacobs 13 219 1089 83.8 5.0 44 15 6 36 2.8 6.0 9 0

Derrick Ward

He's a quality back, but we all know the salary cap won't allow the Giants to keep both him and Jacobs. He has earned his chance to go out and see if someone will pay him the big money to be their featured back -- which is a chance he won't get with the Giants.

If someone will pay him, good for him. If not, maybe he comes back to the Giants at a bargain price. I doubt that, though.

You can be almost certain we have seen the last of DW in New York. I, for one, wish him well.

Rushing Receiving
G Rush Yds Y/G Avg Lng TD Rec Yds Y/G Avg Lng TD
2008 - Derrick Ward 16 182 1025 64.1 5.6 51 2 41 384 24.0 9.4 48 0

Ahmad Bradshaw

Bradshaw boosters have been clamoring for him to get the ball more for most of the last two seasons. Well, the 2009 season should bring those fans, sometimes called 'Bradshawlics,' much happiness.

Bradshaw should get the 15 or so touches per game that Ward was getting this season. He isn't as big or as fast as Ward, but I have no doubt he can put up similar numbers given the playing time. That, of course, is another reason not to spend money on Ward.

'Earth, Wind & Fire' might be breaking up, but the Giants should still have a dominant running game.

Rushing Receiving
G Rush Yds Y/G Avg Lng TD Rec Yds Y/G Avg Lng TD
2008 - Ahmad Bradshaw 15 67 355 23.7 5.3 77 1 5 42 2.8 8.4 18 1

Danny Ware

I don't know much about this guy, other than the fact that he was very impressive during the 2008 exhibition season. He has size and speed, and could be a real find for the Giants if they need him.

-- Next week we will look at some of the questions surrounding the Giants' defensive personnel.