Not quite running the show – poor placement of Giants running backs in NFL.com rankings
Our own Sean Kerr tells us that the Giants running backs are the only duo with 2000+ yards rushing 3 of the last 5 seasons. Yet, Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs make the “C” and “D” list in the NFL list of top NFL running backs. Check it out:
From the “C Group” which covers the #11-15 ranked backs:
"2. Ahmad Bradshaw, Giants (^): Bradshaw is explosive, has more power than many think and is a threat as a receiver. He moved into the feature role last season ahead of Brandon Jacobs and had a ratio of 1:8 in 10-yard runs per attempt. He could be a free agent this year."
And the “D Group” which covers the #16-20 ranked backs:
"3. Brandon Jacobs, Giants (>): A big, power back who had his role reduced to 147 carries. Still, he averaged 5.6 yards per rush and had nine touchdowns. Jacobs averaged a touchdown once every 16 rushes."
Frankly, after you look at the top 20 backs in order… Pat Kirwan has this one called about right. I might move Bradshaw above Benson, but it’s hard to argue about moving up one slot. I think he’s right about Bradshaw being under valued as a receiving back, and I think one of Eli Manning’s things to work on this year is speeding up his reads and checking it down to Bradshaw or Jacobs more often, depending on who’s still on the roster. For this reason, I hope Bradshaw is.
At one point — Bradshaw was ranked next to AP for yards per carry by attempt and forced missed tackles, making him a bona fide elite RB in 2011… but then came the flurry of fumbles and he lost his starting role and a lot of the positive impression he had made for himself last year. Regardless — Bradshaw is a beast in the making and with a renewed commitment to hanging onto the football, partcularly in the red zone, and seeing a lot more catches out of the backfield from Eli — #44 can have some serious all purpose yards in 2011 for the Giants.
Jacobs belongs in a complementary role — and I think Bradshaw showed last year how versatile he really is in this NY Giants emerging offensive system. Jacobs can still pound the rock, but when he’s rested between the 20’s and utilized more inside the red zone… the Giants have increased and thus improved their scoring production. In 2009 they struggled inside the 20’s, last year they improved their conversion numbers dramatically. Not knowing where the Giants were going with the ball was one of those reasons, and Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs splitting the carries in a more deceptive manner where it counts was one of the reasons.
So overall, the Giants running tandem looks like one of the best combos in the NFL. Individually when you gauge the value of each back though on a hypothetical open market — it’s hard to argue with Kirwan’s list here.