Giants getting healthy at running back with return of Andre Brown
The Giants are still without the services of running back David Wilson, who has yet to be cleared to resume football activities, but they finally got some good news regarding their backfield.
Andre Brown (leg) and Brandon Jacobs (hamstring) should both be ready to return from injury.
“We’ve got some big backs. It’s good to get some guys back healthy. Peyton [Hillis] is a guy that hasn’t been playing for the first six weeks of the year and he’s coming out getting 25 touches a game, so it’ll be good for him to get some relief. That bye came at the right time for him,” Eli Manning said. “And it’ll be good to have Brandon and Andre back in the mix. … We should be very strong at the running back position now.”
Brown may be the guy who eventually takes over the full workload, with Jacobs and Hillis being more of the short-yardage and spot-duty types. Brown, who was injured in the final preseason game and was placed on the designated to return/injured reserve list, will likely be activated by Saturday’s deadline.
“Coach came up to me [and asked], ‘Are you ready?’” Brown said. “I was like, ‘Hell, yes!’ I guess we’ll find out this week what they’re going to do with me, [but] my legs are feeling great. I don’t feel any little aches or anything like that anymore. During warm-ups a couple weeks ago, it would still ache a little bit and now it’s not even happening. I feel great.”
Head coach Tom Coughlin also sounded eager to have an improved Giants’ running back stable.
“We’re looking forward to getting as many healthy backs back on that field,” Coughlin said. “Especially Andre, yes. Andre Brown, all I think about is when he played a year ago, so I’m looking forward to the return of that player, quite frankly. I think he’s ready to help. Size, speed, he can catch the ball out of the backfield and he does a good job in pass protection. You sometimes forget that the guy is 230 pounds. That’s a little bit of a different dimension.”
Jacobs will add another dimension, as his 265-pound frame will shoulder most of the tough yards until Brown is up to speed. The veteran running back said he, too, is intrigued to see what Brown can do, noting the two have rarely had the chance to play together.
“It feels good. I’m happy to see Dre back, because the whole entire time I’ve been here I’ve never really played with him. It’s always been either he’s been down on practice squad or moving around and taking his tour [of four teams] that he’s done. I’m excited that he’s back,” Jacobs said, adding he feels good about his chances to suit up on Sunday. “I feel pretty good. I had the chance to get a little running in on Monday and today.”
Big Blue notes …
» Wilson, who has been sidelined with a herniated disc in his neck since Oct. 6, underwent an MRI earlier in the week. It was immediately determined that while there has been significant improvement with the herniation, the second-year back is still not cleared to resume football activities. Wilson will undergo another evaluation in several weeks.
» The Giants must decide this week whether to activate defensive tackle Markus Kuhn or place him on season-ending injured reserve. Kuhn, who is on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, tore his anterior cruciate ligament on Nov. 11, 2012 in Cincinnati. Coughlin remained noncommittal about Kuhn’s availability.
“He’s been coming along well,” Coughlin said. “He’s very anxious to get out on the field.”
» The Giants signed cornerback Brandon Jones to their practice squad. Jones, a South Jersey native and former Rutgers star, is 6-foot and 191 pounds He was originally signed as a rookie free agent by the Patriots on May 31 and was waived on Aug. 26 after registering just one tackle in two preseason games. Jones’s addition was made possible by the Giants terminating the practice squad contract of running back Jeremy Wright last week.
» Coughlin was in high spirits Wednesday, even quipping about his expectations for Brown, should he play on Sunday.
“Forty carries and 15 receptions,” Coughlin said. “Run the kickoffs back … what else would you like?”
» Brown is fully aware that his injury can happen again, which is why he’ll likely wear a six-inch protective shin guard the remainder of his career. He reasoned the importance of taking care of his well-being, while the team also taking care of theirs by carrying so many running backs, adding it makes for friendly competition.
“As a running back, we know there are going to be injuries,” Brown said. “That’s why we carry four guys. … We’re a bunch of fighters, we’re going to go out there and continue to fight and continue to win.”
Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.