Louis Musto, ContributorThe New York Giants already should have been concerned about the group of running backs on their roster. And then Andre Brown went down.
Now, they boast a unit that has Da’Rel Scott as the backup running back… Yikes!
Scott is fast, sure, but he’s little else. He fails to hit open holes with good burst and goes down on first contact every time. His tenure with the Giants appeared to be coming to an end, but then Brown’s injury saved him—at least for the time being.
The Giants’ three running backs on the depth chart (starter David Wilson, Scott and third-stringer Michael Cox) combine for 82 NFL rushing attempts to date. Adrian Peterson had more than that after the first five games of the 2012 season. Most teams would like at least a little experience in their backfield.
Perhaps that’s why reports by SNY insider Ralph Vacchiano have placed free-agent backs Beanie Wells, Jonathan Dwyer and Leon Washington on the Giants’ radar.
The Giants need some veteran help in their backfield and after making the questionable decision to cut dependable pass protector Ryan Torain in favor of the inept Da’Rel Scott, someone who can block wouldn’t hurt.
Wilson’s struggles in pass protection are well documented, and Scott and the rookie Cox don’t offer much more in that department. With a makeshift offensive line in front of him, quarterback Eli Manning will require all the help he can get.
Taking the three players the Giants reportedly brought in for tryouts into account, who has the most to offer Big Blue? Washington’s play-making ability makes him an enticing option to split carries with Wilson, but he’s primarily a return man with limited potential in pass protection himself.
Wells, a former first-rounder for the Arizona Cardinals, had all the tools to be a successful running back in the NFL. Unfortunately, injuries have rendered him ineffective and he garnered little interest during the offseason. With enough injury concerns on their plate, it’s probably in the Giants’ best interest to avoid Wells.
And then there’s Dwyer. Cut by the Steelers, the Georgia Tech product could be exactly what the Giants are looking for.
He led the Steelers in rushing with 623 yards (4.0 yards per carry) and performed well in preseason this year. The Steelers’ decision to cut him was questionable at best, but with a stockpile of rushers, Dwyer was the odd man out.
He is a punishing runner built in a similar mold to that of the injured Andre Brown. He stands 5-foot-11, weighs 229 pounds and is the type of hard-working, blue-collar player head coach Tom Coughlin would love to have on his team. More importantly, he is a solid pass protector and he takes care of the football.
Ultimately, it’s Jerry Reese’s call, and it’s likely none of these three players will ever be a member of the Giants’ roster. One thing is for certain however: the ground game will struggle if it stays the way it is right now.
Brown is headed for the short-term IR and tweeted that he’ll be ready to go in eight weeks. But it’s hard to believe the Giants can get through the first eight games of the season with the running back situation in its current state.
What the team will do to solve their conundrum in the backfield is unknown, but we’ll likely have a better idea of what the Giants plan to do after they see what their current crop of backs has to offer. That won’t come until after their Week 1 matchup in Dallas with the Cowboys.
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