Q. What is it about Brandon Jacobs that makes him a tone-setter for this offense?
A. The obvious thing is that he is so physical, so powerful. So it adds a physical element to an offense that not all offenses have. We all would like to have that component where you say, we can just line up against our opponent and be as physical as any defense we encounter. You’re not going to do it with your receivers. It really is going to come down to what your line and the style of runner that you have. He gives us that, he gives us that tone, that physicality, that toughness.
Q. Why is he so frustrated these days?
A. I just think his stats are not as high as the success he has experienced in the past. He wants to do more, which is good. Looking to do whatever he can do, he is looking to do it for the sake of the team. I think that is what he feels, he wants to be an effective runner because he knows our team needs that.
Q. Has he expressed his frustration to you individually?
A. We have talked about it. I told him, ‘to just keep playing. We aren’t disappointed at all. You’re a big part of what we do. You can express your contributions as a runner and also as a pass protector.’ (He’s) a guy that is chipping and neutralizing some superior rushers that we are facing. Not everybody has a guy who can do that, he can do that. We can match him up against a linebacker. We don’t have to make adjustments that a lot of teams have to do. He helps us in so many areas I don’t worry necessarily about the yardage per carry. I just look at the tone he is setting, not only with his running but also with everything he does.
Q. When you look at the film can you see why the yardage has gone down?
A. No, not really. It is hard to discern any difference from the past. I think it is just some of the things that happen to be that way. Sometimes you guys will say how come so and so hasn’t caught the ball as many times as he did last year. I just say, during the course of the year, I think it will all even out. I think the same thing. I think his stats will be just where they have been over the past few years once the year is done. Right now, when we call certain a run, maybe it hasn’t opened up quite the way it would’ve in the past. I can tell you this right now there isn’t a defensive back in the league that is excited about tackling him once he gets himself north and south. Hopefully, we’ve got a play called and we are executing and blocking well enough that we give him that chance.
Q. Along those same lines, is Ahmad Bradshaw just in a groove?
A. He is playing absolutely great football. He is making guys miss sometimes, even if it’s not blocked the way you want it, sometimes it is the luck of the draw, you have the right play call when he is in.
Q. How do you expect Brandon will handle the frustration?
A. What I expect him to do is to channel that into a great effort. Going home, looking to show everybody that, ‘Hey, I am a special football player. My role on this team is very important. I am angry, I’m frustrated.’ I think he is just going to dig down a little bit deeper. I think he is going to respond very positive to do it.
Q. Are Brandon and Ahmad seeing different looks from defenses?
A. Sometimes, most of the time it is the same. People play you the same, they are playing their scheme. They do play us a little differently when Brandon is in the game. Certainly they know Brandon’s running style is a certain way so they can play him a little different. Essentially, it is the same. But again, I can call a certain play and Mario Manningham is the x receiver and on that coverage you have bump and run and we have a go route so the ball goes to him. I could call the same route the next five times and it happens to be Hakeem Nicks and there is off coverage and the ball never goes to him. What is wrong with Hakeem? It just happens to be the luck of the draw. Some of that is part of the explanation. Part of it is that Ahmad is playing great football. He is making some guys miss, that is his style of play. Brandon’s best style is when we just come off the ball as a unit and we knock people off the line and get him going. When he gets going that is when he is special. We are trying to do it.
Q. So it is not that defenses are gearing up to stop the power run?
A. No, not really. There are sometimes with a little of that. But we run Brandon outside a lot. Some of his best plays are when you get him outside and get him running. It is less of that than it is just happened to be the luck of the draw. What play is called, what defense is called. Again, Ahmad has had some where maybe it wasn’t the perfect call or scheme and he has just made guys miss.
Q. Do you think Brandon is going to respond positively to this?
A. He is frustrated, he is disappointed and rather than give in and surrender, I think he is going to dig down deeper. That is his makeup, particularly when you talk about him going home.