It took just one game for the New York Giants to decide that David Wilson might need some more help as the primary ball carrier. On Tuesday, the team signed running back Brandon Jacobs
The veteran spent the first seven years of his career with Big Blue, but left after winning the Super Bowl in 2012. Jacobs signed with the San Francisco 49ers, but was released in December, playing in just two games with his new club.
New York brought in Jacobs, following the Giants Week 1 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Wilson fumbled the ball twice, and backup Da’Rel Scott dropped a pass that led to a key interception. Marc Sessler of NFL.com reports that Jacobs won’t split carries equally with Wilson but he’ll see time on passing downs and near the goal line. The Giants starter struggled in pass protection, which was a part of Eli Manning’s three sacks.
During his time with New York, Jacobs was often used as a short-yardage specialist. In 2008, he set a career-high with 15 touchdowns. He added seven scores in his last season with the club when he spilt time with Ahmad Bradshaw.
The Giants didn’t only reach out to their former running back. They also considered Willis McGahee and Joe McKnight, who remain free agents. Did New York make the right choice by going with Jacobs?
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Jacobs may have been the safest option of the three. According to Sessler, the Giants went with Jacobs because he knows the team’s offense and is familiar with the pass-protection scheme. New York still has the same coaching staff in place from when Jacobs last played with the team.
There are some risks, however, in signing Jacobs, who hasn’t been productive since 2011. The 31-year-old has a history of complaining about playing time, and doing so contributed to him suspended by San Francisco for three games last season. In his second tour of duty with the Giants, he’ll have to get used to the idea that Wilson, despite his problems, is still the No.1 running back.
Willis McGahee has had the most individual success of the three. Since 2004, he’s registered over 8,000 yards on the ground. In the past two years with the Denver Broncos, he’s rushed for 1,930 yards in 25 games. If McGahee can play like his old self, he’d likely outshine both Jacobs and McKnight. Through nine years in the NFL, though, the veteran has carried the ball almost 2,000 times and undergone multiple surgeries, raising questions about his potential effectiveness.
Unlike Jacobs and McGahee, McKnight might have his best years ahead of him. He’s spent just three years in the league after being drafted out of USC. However, with the Jets he didn’t get on the field much, averaging 37 carries per season. The club released him in the preseason, despite having no established running backs on the roster.
In Jacobs’s first game back, he’ll have to deal with, potentially, the best team in football. The Giants will host the Broncos on Sunday afternoon.