The New York Giants have had a revolving door at the running back position all season. This is due to injuries to Andre Brown (leg), Brandon Jacobs (hamstring), and David Wilson (neck).
The Giants received some good news- Andre Brown is expected to return to the team this Sunday against Oakland. This gives the Giants five running backs, and that mean one has to go.
The most obvious choice is Michael Cox, the seventh round pick out of Massachusetts, who only has 42 yards on the season so far. However; Cox has the advantage of being healthy right now, which is what will keep him in a Giants uniform for the rest of the season.
The Giants have been able to strike gold with late round picks in the past, and they are not ready to give up on the investment. Also, the Giants are not going to give Andre Brown the full load after coming back from a broken leg. Look for Cox to be number two behind Peyton Hillis until Brown shows he can be effective.
That brings us to Hillis, who was signed in week six and has put up some decent numbers in the two games he’s played.
So far, he has 38 carries for 108 yards and one touchdown in two games. His advantage is the same as Cox’s, and that is the fact that he’s healthy. Hillis has been a starter in the NFL, and he can carry most of the load for the Giants until David Wilson and Brandon Jacobs get healthy. Don’t expect the Giants to be cutting him any time soon.
Next we have Brandon Jacobs who is the oldest running back at 31 years old, and he is also dealing with an injury to his hamstring. Right now he is listed as questionable for the game against Oakland, and he is the only running back on the roster with a 100-yard rushing game; that came against the Chicago Bears in week 6.
Jacobs probably can be cut because of his age, and that would allow room for Brown. Jacobs’ fate will most likely be decided by David Wilson’s health this season. If Wilson does not play again this season the Giants will have Jacobs, Hillis, and Brown carry the running game, and Cox will stay with the special teams unit.
The Giants have a decision to make when Brown makes his return this season, and that is who to cut. Now maybe the Giants find someone expendable at another position to cut for Brown, or maybe not and they are forced to cut a running back. The biggest factor in making that decision is whether the Giants put David Wilson on injured reserve. Putting Wilson on injured reserve would free up a roster spot for Brown, and would allow the Giants to keep all four healthy running backs in case they are needed. The question is: do the Giants look to keep all their players to compete now, or do they look to the future?
There is no doubt that the Giants plan to make David Wilson the franchise running back in their offense, but if the Giants are still in the division race, do they let him play when he gets healthy? That is something the Giants must figure out soon before they cut someone they may need later. This is a tough decision with the Giants being two games behind Dallas, and the Giants will play Dallas in three weeks.
The best bet is to put David Wilson on injured reserve, and avoid further injuries for the young running back. Whether the Giants get back in the division race, or not, its the best decision for the team in the long run. If the Giants do decide to cut a running back, than Jacobs will most likely be the one to go.
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