Yesterday, news broke that former New York Giants running back, Andre Brown, was surprisingly released by the Houston Texans.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 11, 2014
Brown, whose season was shortened last year due to an injury that caused him to miss the first 8 games, was still productive on a Giants team that struggled to run the ball. The Giants let Brown walk in free agency this year, as they felt confident in their running back depth. However, with the recent news of David Wilson‘s NFL career being over due to his neck injury, and Peyton Hillis‘ ongoing ankle sprain, the Giants depth at running back is suddenly a major question mark. Giants beat writers, and fans, instantly took to twitter with thoughts of a possible return to Big Blue for Andre Brown.
I wonder if Andre Brown ends up back in blue with Wilson gone and Hillis injured. #NYG
— Eye of the Gator (@EyeoftheGator) August 12, 2014
Brown has suffered numerous major injuries in his career including an Achilles tendon tear and multiple broken legs. His injury history, combined with his advancing age (27), probably would leave the Giants concerned. There is also the fact that the Giants are now running a different offensive system than the one Brown played in.
If the Giants do bring in Andre Brown, he would have to become acclimated to McAdoo’s system, and quickly. I believe Brown would actually be suited quite well to the new system, despite what some other Giants’ writers might be claiming. Brown has shown decent ability catching the ball, notching 20 receptions last year in only 8 games. The fact that he had that many catches in Gilbride’s system is actually pretty astounding, if you ask me.
Brown is also very effective around the goal line. In 2012, he scored 8 touchdowns in only 10 games. Rookie running back Andre Williams was presumably drafted to replace Andre Brown around the goal line and has been effective early on in pre-season. However, Giants’ fans have seen in the past how Tom Coughlin tends to shy away from heavily utilizing rookies in their first season.
Another area where I believe Andre Brown could be a big help to big blue is in pass blocking. Last season, Andre Brown was ranked in the top 10 by Pro Football Focus in pass blocking efficiency for running backs.
Meanwhile, Andre Williams, who I mentioned earlier was drafted (in part) to replace Andre Brown, has struggled with pass blocking assignments. Jordan Raanan, of NJ.com, does a great job of breaking down Williams struggles in pass protection from the Giants last pre-season game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
But how Williams does in the other areas of the game will dictate how much coach Tom Coughlin and new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo can trust him to be on the field this season. Williams isn’t much of a pass catcher (10 receptions in four years at B.C.) and is a relatively inexperience pass blocker.
Nothing in the first two preseason games has shown he’s capable of doing either at the NFL level right now – Jordan Raanan, NJ.com
Personally, I don’t see why the Giants wouldn’t at least explore the possibility of bringing Andre Brown back into the fold. To me, he would instantly be the second or third best running back on their roster. While his past injury issues, age, and fit in the new Giants offensive scheme are all concerns, there is still very little risk in bringing him back and seeing what he can give the Giants.
At the very least, he would give some of the younger guys, such as Andre Williams, Michael Cox and Kendall Gaskins, motivation to step their game up. He should also provide Eli Manning some more security in the back-field and provide an instant upgrade in passing or goal line situations. If the Giants do bring Andre Brown back, and everything goes great, who knows, maybe we can even see him reprise his “We got a ring” song at season’s end.