Day two of New York Giants mini-camp was yesterday, and for the first time there was somewhat of a focus on a position other than wide receiver; running back.
Brandon Jacobs was released last year and this offseason, Ahmad Bradshaw was the victim. 2012 first round draft pick David Wilson is the guy now; an elusive, speedy back who can bounce outside, take screen passes for big gains and of course, return kickoffs.
Then there’s Andre Brown, who had his best season in 2012. He racked up 385 yards and scored eight touchdowns, providing somewhat of a goal line back that the Giants needed. Brown unfortunately broke his leg last season during a 38-10 blowout over the Green Bay Packers.
While the Giants do have speedster Da’Rel Scott and veteran Ryan Torain, the guy who most people seem to be excited about for the third running back position is seventh round pick Michael Cox out of Massachusetts. He’s 6-0, 220 pounds and can be the bruiser that the Giants have been looking for since the departure of Jacobs.
After practice yesterday, Head Coach Tom Coughlin spoke highly of all of his running backs.
“Actually, they have all worked well given the opportunities,” said Coughlin. “The young kid (Cox) continues to do some good things. Between Andre (Brown) and David (Wilson), we’ve had good days, I think, pretty consistently. Da’Rel Scott has had a few good days. Ryan Torain, of course, has the hamstring right now.”
Brown spoke with the media yesterday and talked about having a bigger role this season; something that seemed unlikely going into the 2012 season, so he is cherishing this opportunity and not letting it go to waste.
“I still feel like I’ve got a lot to prove and first I just want to have a healthy season and then go out there and just be productive and help this team win games and championships and that’s what it’s all about,” said Brown, who was a 4th round pick for the Giants back in 2009.
With Wilson going into only his second year, Brown has taken a leadership role at the running back position, crediting Bradshaw and Jacobs for showing him how to be one.
“Being around Ahmad and Brandon early in my career, speaking up as a leader and now as me being more of a vocal leader is kind of like… because those guys did most of the talking leadership wise and they carried the leadership of the room and I’m the oldest guy in the room now and it’s like I’ve got to become more of a vocal leader and make sure the young boys know… Michael knows the plays and the protections and I go over with him and making sure that he knows the steps and stuff like that,” said Brown. “I guess I’m finally mature enough where I can step into that role and be a very effective leader.”
Jacobs and Bradshaw was a two-headed monster that lead the Giants to two Super Bowl titles during their tenure, leaving expectations high for Brown and Wilson, the new one-two punch. Brown expects the duo to compliment each other well.
“David is an explosive young back and I feel that we compliment each other well because I’m a big back and I run downhill and Dave can scat and take it outside,” said Brown. “I’d much rather him have a sweep than me. I think that’s what’s going to be a good one-two punch with us complimenting each other.”