Giants work out several veteran running backs

Giants working out veteran running backs in wake of Wilson's poor performance

9/9/13 in NFL   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

Blog Photo - Giants work out several veteran running backsNot much went well for the New York Giants during their season opener against the Dallas Cowboys, but perhaps the most disappointing performance on Sunday night for Big Blue was that of running back David Wilson. Hyped up as a breakout candidate with star potential for the 2013 season, Wilson promptly fumbled the football just four minutes into the game. He proceeded to get stuffed on a rushing attempt from the one-yard line, blow a blocking assignment that resulted in a sack, and fumble one more time to put the icing on the cake.

Wilson was pulled after that second fumble and was replaced by Da'Rel Scott, who ran five times for 23 yards and caught five passes for 51 yards - all without fumbling. Even so, Scott is not a viable top running back, and last year's breakout runner Andre Brown is sidelined until at least Week 10 with a broken leg. With uncertainty surrounding Wilson, the Giants have been forced to look to the free agent market for a veteran presence in their backfield.

The Giants brought in Brandon Jacobs - who they are very familiar with from their days winning Super Bowls together - for a workout on Monday. Jacobs got virtually no playing time with the San Francisco 49ers last season, notching just five rushing attempts for seven yards all year. The 31-year-old attracted no interest on the market over the offseason.

November 18, 2012; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos running back Willis McGahee (23) during the first quarter against the San Diego Chargers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.  Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY SportsWillis McGahee was also part of the Giants' workout on Monday. Averaging 4.4 yards per carry across ten games for the Denver Broncos last year, McGahee may be the most recently-productive back that the Giants have brought in. Nearly 32 years old and coming off a torn MCL and broken leg, however, there are some legitimate concerns over how effective McGahee would be at this point in his career.

Former New York Jet Joe McKnight was also in attendance, though he has never been relied on as a running back (career-high in carries is 43). It's worth noting, however, that he was a first-team All-Pro kick returner in 2011.

The Giants brought in Beanie Wells and Tim Hightower for workouts last week, so one of them landing in New York is also a possibility.

None of these backs are likely to be a legitimate threat to Wilson's role as the backfield's lead runner, as Wilson is among the most explosive runners in the NFL as long as he's not putting the ball on the ground. Wilson fumbled the ball just once across 75 touches in 2012, so hopefully his Sunday night mishaps were more of a fluke than a trend, but head coach Tom Coughlin will want Wilson to prove that he can keep the ball secure before he starts feeding him massive workloads.

Coughlin was noncommittal when asked if Wilson will start in the Giants' Week 2 matchup with the Broncos, but the fact of the matter remains that Wilson is by far the most explosive option on the team. Coughlin did go on to say "we need him" when speaking of Wilson, so he very well understands the second-year runner's importance in the backfield. It looks like Wilson could get another shot at proving himself on Sunday, but he absolutely has to show improvement with his ball security and pass protection, because Coughlin has been known to bury players - even supremely talented ones - in the back of his doghouse.
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