New York Giants: Comparing The 3 Running Backs


The New York Giants now have three running backs, with the acquisition of Shane Vereen in free agency. Vereen, Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams are the Giants options in the backfield. Each running back has a different skill set, meaning each of them will be used differently. Let’s compare the Giants running backs.

Dec 28, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots running back Shane Vereen (34) against Buffalo Bills cornerback

Corey Graham

(20) in the first half at Gillette Stadium. Buffalo Bills defeated the Patriots 17-9. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

We start by evaluating Vereen. Vereen is a shifty and quick player whose strength is being a receiving running back. With the New England Patriots he was thrown the ball often. With 99 receptions (6 of them were touchdown receptions) in the past two seasons, Vereen is an underrated playmaker.

Vereen is also a good guy to hand the ball off to, in 2014 he averaged 4.1 yards per carry. Vereen was never asked to be a workhorse, the Patriots used a running back by committee mentality. In 2014 he had 96 carries, the most rushing attempts he had ever had, rushing for 391 yards and 2 touchdowns. The 26-year-old rusher should have his best football ahead of him.

Vereen will be the starter as he is the most multi-talented back the Giants have. He will provide production as a receiving threat. However this does not mean that the Giants will become predictable when Vereen is in the backfield. Vereen doesn’t necessarily tip the defense off to the pass, because he is an effective rusher as well.

Nov 16, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants running back Rashad Jennings (23) runs the ball against the San Francisco 49ers during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. The 49ers defeated the Giants 16-10. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Next we move to Rashad Jennings. Jennings is more of a power rusher than he is an elusive one. That being said he is not exactly a Marshawn Lynch type rusher. Jennings best statistical season was with the Oakland Raiders. He had 733 yards, and averaged 4.5 yards per attempt.

Jennings is best when he is not the feature back, but rather part of a tandem of rushers. Jennings is rather injury prone and has never played in all 16 games of a season. He played in 11 games last year for the Giants and only rushed for 58.1 yards per game.

Jennings is the type of rusher that will get you what you block for, making him a serviceable option. He does not typically have big plays or make something extra happen. In 5 seasons in the NFL he has had just 8 rushes over 20 yards. He is not an explosive rusher. Jennings is a decent rusher, nothing more or less.

Andre Williams is entering his second season in the NFL. He played his college football at Boston College, where he was the centerpiece of the offense. The injury struggles of Jennings forced Williams to play a large role in his rookie season.

Sep 14, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants running back Andre Williams (44) runs the ball against the Arizona Cardinals during a game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Williams had 217 rushing attempts but only managed to squeeze out 721 yards. It was clear that the rookie running back needed time to develop into a star in the NFL; he averaged just 3.3 yards per carry. Williams had only 2 games in which he rushed for over 100 yards.

Williams has a lot of potential but we have yet to see him become the star he was at Boston College. He is very limited as a receiving threat out of the backfield. The Giants are hoping that in a lesser role he can continue to develop in 2015.

Unless there are unforeseen roster changes, the Giants will use all three backs into the game. Vereen is most likely to be the starter and is the most versatile of the three backs. Jennings will probably be used for short yardage situations as the power back. Jennings and Williams will rotate in and out of the game to keep Vereen fresh throughout the games.

Next: New York Giants: Shane Vereen Perfectly Practical Fit