Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
Prior to suffering a neck injury in week 5, David Wilson was expected to be a game changer; it never materialized. His long run was 18 yards. When he left the picture, it was three yards and a cloud of dust football — or 3.5 to be exact. Giant running backs finished dead last in the NFL with three 20+ yard runs and zero 40+. Only 20% of their rushes achieved first down yardage.
Andre Brown ran well for a five-game stretch behind fresh legs — two 100-yard games and three touchdowns — but he took an unhealthy number of hits and couldn’t sustain physically. While he’d be more than adequate as the north/south runner in a two-back system, Brown’s make-you-miss qualities are absent. Full-time duty is not reasonable.
Much like Brown, Brandon Jacobs looked energized in short spurts. He ran for 100 yards and two scores at Chicago — then missed five weeks. He ran 75 yards on nine carries versus Dallas — then missed the rest of the season. It seems apparent that chronic knee issues will force Jacobs to shut it down.
The Giants felt comfortable with Peyton Hillis in emergency usage on a stunningly thin depth chart. The former fullback is a serviceable pass blocker and his familiarity with the Giants offensive system (coming from Mike Sullivan in Tampa) was a check in his favor. Outside of those attributes, however, Hillis is a fringe NFL talent… at best. I believe even team brass would acknowledge that.
Fullback John Conner played on just 34% of the team’s snaps, but his run blocking effort was solid when called upon.