Our training camp preview of each unit continues with the running backs.
Unit: Running backs
Depth Chart: (RBs) Brandon Jacobs, Ahmad Bradshaw, D.J. Ware, Andre Brown, Gartrell Johnson. (FBs) Madison Hedgecock, Jerome Johnson.
On the Bubble: G. Johnson, J. Johnson.
Player to Watch: Bradshaw. He’s feeling new again with surgically-repaired feet and ankles. If the explosion returns, Bradshaw is a big-play waiting to happen again. And if Bradshaw is productive and Jacobs struggles, could No. 44 steal more carries?
Wild Card: Brown. Last year’s fourth-round pick suffered a season-ending Achilles injury during training camp. Now Brown hopes to be healthy and ready to battle Ware for the third running back job in training camp. He can catch out of the backfield and can run with power. The Giants can use another Derrick Ward.
Analysis: The Giants running game stalled big time last season. For the first time since 2001, a Giants rusher failed to crack 1,000 yards rushing. Jacobs (knee) and Bradshaw played hurt last season and are both coming off offseason surgeries. They have declared themselves ready to redeem themselves this season.
If the Giants are to return to form, Jacobs and Bradshaw must re-establish the running game with a one-two punch again. Jacobs averaged just 3.7 yards per carry last season after rushing for 5.0 yards per carry the previous two seasons. Head coach Tom Coughlin could also use a third running back and Ware and Brown will battle for that spot with Gartrell Johnson as an outside possibility. The third running back must be able to catch out of the backfield and protect Eli Manning. Brown is still making his way back from a serious Achilles injury but he has shown flashes during offseason practices.