It's not like the New York Giants running game was threatening before David Wilson's injury, but now the team is relying upon Brandon Jacobs, a veteran who was largely ineffective last week, and Da'Rel Scott, who was waived just two weeks ago.
Jacobs is expected to start, but he and Scott will both be counted on to try and give the Giants a balanced offensive attack against the Chicago Bears Thursday night. That in itself will be a challenge, according to offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride.
"It will be a challenge (even) if you had everybody, just because they're (the Bears) such a talented defense," he said. "They're so powerfully strong, the way they play this game. They're all focused on the ball and they take great pride. They've got great tradition. It's going to be difficult, but I'm sure (Jacobs and Scott) are going to give it their best shot."
After Wilson left the game early with a neck injury last week, Jacobs racked up 37 yards on 11 carries for a running game that largely unproductive. Earlier this week, the team re-signed Scott, who was waived earlier in the month so the team could add depth to its struggling offensive line.
Without Wilson, the most talented back on the roster, and an offensive line devastated by injuries and a lack of production from the tackle spots, the Giants will try to forge a running game. It hasn't worked in the first five games, and it becomes an even greater challenge when there's so many moving parts.
"We've had a lot of changing parts -- a new tackle, new guard, new center, new tight end. It's just part of what we had to deal with," Gilbride said. "The good thing is there's been no discouragement. There's been disappointment and guys are hanging in there, working hard. I haven't been disappointed at all with their effort.
"We just have to stop (the turnovers and mistakes), which is difficult, but when you have as many new parts we have it, it's particularly so."
A lack of a running game has been particular difficult for Eli Manning, who leads the league in interceptions (12). Manning has been forced to shoulder the load offensively, and because the Giants are constantly facing uphill battles, he's throwing over and over to try and rally his team.
Manning denies he has played lousy and instead argues he has thrown the ball accurate and made good decisions for the most part. Gilbride agrees, explaining the mistakes are not solely because of Manning but a team-wide issue.
"There's so many contributing factors into those stats and certainly some of the energy to try and do something to win a game," he said. "In terms of (Manning), knowing where to go with the ball, trying to throw the ball to the right spot, throwing the ball generally accurately -- he's done a great job. Unfortunately it's the mistakes that have killed us. We all have to share the blame for that."
With so many problems -- a shaky offensive line, a depleted running back stable and an 0-5 hole -- the Giants have to also contend with a short week before hosting the Bears.
This isn't the same Bears defense we're used, but one that is still very effective. Chicago owns the 13th-ranked defense in the NFL and is second only to the Seattle Seahawks in total takeaways (14).
"(They) have a lot of variety (in) the different blitz combinations they bring (and) it's caused a lot of offenses a lot of difficulty over the years," Gilbride said. "We've addressed it intellectually. Schematically, we feel like we've got a couple of good ideas to contend with it. It's the Xs and Os that come with the players; the quality of their Xs are pretty good."
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