The New York Giants and Peyton Hillis have come to terms on a contract. Hillis will be taking the Giants roster spot that was freed up after they waive/injured runningback Da’Rel Scott.
Hillis has been in the league for all or parts of the last six seasons. He has spent time in Denver (’08 & ’09), Cleveland (’10 & ’11), Kansas City (’12), and Tampa Bay (this season). He’s probably the most well-known, and accomplished, of the backs brought in. His career year was in ’10 when he broke out with 270 carries for 1177 yards (4.4 ypc) and 11 touchdowns. He also was very effective in the passing game, catching 61 passes for 477 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Browns refused to sign him to a long-term deal after his breakout year, and his numbers trailed off afterwards due to injuries which are a result of his tough running style. Although he has looked like a shell of his former self, Hillis is still only 27 and might have the most upside of any of the runningbacks. Hillis could also help out the terrible Giants screen game. Usually, I would think Hillis would have a disadvantage to the other tryouts because the Giants usually like to bring back former guys who know the system. However, it’s important to note Hillis spent this training camp with Tampa Bay whose offensive coordinator, Mike Sullivan, came from the Giants and uses a similar system to Gilbride.
It looks like I might have been onto something when I brought up Hillis’ time in Tampa Bay giving him some insight into how the complicated Giants offense runs. Here are some quotes from Hillis in Michael Eisen’s write-up on Giants.com
“From what I understand, a lot of the terminology is the same as it was in Tampa, and so it may be a quick process,” Hillis said. “Maybe, maybe not. We’ll see.
“A lot of the plays are the same. It’s just different terminology. As long as you get the terminology down, you’ll be fine. Here though, it seems like it’s the same as Tampa’s, so it shouldn’t be that big of a (transition).”
I am not sure how much Hillis has left in the tank, he dealt with many injuries from his hard running style, but he certainly has had big years in the past. At the very least, he is another big body that the Giants can use not only in the running game, but in pass blocking. Hillis is also a very capable pass catcher, something the Giants have sorely lacked at the runningback position. I doubt Hillis can ever return to the form he showcased in 2010, but hopefully he can offer some short-term help to the Giants beleaguered running attack.
Also, as I believed would be the case yesterday, undrafted free agent Jeremy Wright was added to the Giants practice squad.