The New York Giants revved up the old DeLorean and reacquainted themselves with running back Brandon Jacobs, who played for the team from 2004 to 2012.
But for head coach Tom Coughlin, it’s not about reuniting and feeling so good, but rather reacquiring a player who can immediately help in light of the fumbling issues with starting running back David Wilson and the inexperience behind him on the depth chart.
Jacobs, 31, is an upgrade over what the Giants have behind the second-year Wilson, and will likely be a great mentor for the back the same way he used to mentor Ahmad Bradshaw.
But more than anything, he said he’s not here to be a teacher, but rather a peer.
“I’m not really here to mentor David. I’m here to work with David,” Jacobs said. “He’s a talented guy and I’m looking forward to working with him. My rookie year, I fumbled on the goaline in Dallas, so I know what he’s going through. It’s tough, but I’ve talked to him. He’s a good kid.”
“He’s here to contribute to our team. What David Wilson can learn from Brandon, [that’s] fine, and Brandon will do a good job in that regard. But that’s not the primary reason he’s here,” said Coughlin. “I think he’s in pretty good shape when we worked him out [on Tuesday]. ... We’ll treat him as any other [incoming] player. We need him to get ready to go.”
Coughlin certainly wished for all the questions about Wilson fumbling to go away as well, considering how testy he got with the media during his weekly press conference Wednesday. Coughlin repeatedly fielded questions about the status and mindset of his young back, as well as the state of the depth chart now that Jacobs is here.
“I can’t say any more about David Wilson except that if I watch him in practice and if his technique doesn’t improve I’ll let [the media] know,” Coughlin said. “If he practices, he’ll need to have the ball in [the right] position all the time and not just when he thinks he’s running free and there’s no one around. I want to see the ball in the right spot all the time. Quite frankly, there’s nowhere else to go with this. Nothing more I can say about this. ... I realize it’s a major issue for everybody. But I don’t know why we keep talking backwards. We’re supposed to go forward. We were doing this on Monday [during his conference call].”
Going forward, Coughlin wouldn’t commit to a starting running back against the Broncos (1-0) on Sunday, as he only gave a cryptic nonanswer when asked if Wilson’s starting spot was in jeopardy.
“We’ll see. But like I’ve said many times, we need him. He’s necessary. He has to overcome this issue. He’s a marked man now, so he’ll really have to overcome,” said Coughlin. “He’s fumbled the ball twice and he has to straighten that out [because] we’re not going to have a guy on the field that fumbles the ball. He wants to play and improve and help this team win, but this is something that he must overcome. ... The interesting thing is that we didn’t see this in training camp or any of the preseason games, yet it showed up the other day. But he’s following the techniques that have been taught and we’ll see when under pressure if he can continue to do that. I’m confident that he’ll learn from it.”
The Giants will have to learn to control the tempo and line of scrimmage on Sunday in order to keep the high-powered Broncos offense on the sidelines. And for that to happen, they’ll need to successfully run the ball, eat up clock and move the chains.
Coughlin said he “certainly hopes” Jacobs can be the guy to get the tough yards, considering his 6-foot-4, 265-pound frame is made for that kind of contact.
“Brandon comes in at a time when we needed a veteran running back with size,” Coughlin said. “He has been out of football for a while, but he’s very anxious to have another opportunity and is willing to do what we ask him to do in order to help our team. He’s certainly more humble. ... I’m happy to have Brandon back, so let’s get to work.”
Jacobs said he’ll need every bit of this week’s workload to be ready in time for the Broncos, and that he’ll do whatever it takes to be an impact player for the Giants again. He laughed when recalling how hard Wednesday’s practice was in the searing heat and humidity, equating his rusty workout to being a car in 40-degree weather and going full throttle without warming up.
The hulking back got serious when noting he “won’t cut any corners. ... I’m trying to get back to where I was in 06-07.” He also said that he feels strongly that he “can be as productive as any running back in the National Football League. I feel fast and good about this opportunity I have right now.”
Jacobs raised some eyebrows at his admission he was around 290 pounds as recently as a couple months ago, only to work his way back down to his current playing weight of 265 pounds. He said he’s thankful for the work his agency did in getting him back here and thankful for getting back into shape in just over a month’s time.
“I’m blessed. I feel like I’m on top of the world. I’ve been waiting a year for this,” he said, adding this is likely his final stop and he’s not interested in making it a short stay. “Coming back here, I realized I am not going to fail. I’m not trying to go back home [to being unemployed]. It feels so good I don’t think it’s real. It means more to me than anything to be a Giant again.”
Big Blue notes ...
» Cornerback Prince Amukamara (concussion) didn’t practice on Wednesday, as Coughlin noted that he’s yet to “pass the [concussion baseline testing] code.”
» The complete Giants injury list, as of Wednesday’s practice: center David Baas (knee), right tackle David Diehl (thumb), linebacker Dan Connor (neck), defensive end Damontre Moore (shoulder) and tight end Adrien Robinson (foot).
» Jacobs will now don the No. 34, since his old number, 27, is owned by Pro Bowl safety Stevie Brown, who has no intentions of giving it up despite being on season-ending injured reserve.
» Jacobs refused to get into the juicy details of his ill-fated season in San Francisco, but claimed the team was afraid to let him go outright.
“Last year, that is cursed. I’m not trying to talk about that. Not at all,” Jacobs said. “They didn’t want to release me. I was told point blank, ‘Do we look like fools to release you outright, so you can come back and play against us?’ I felt good then because then I’m thinking, ‘Yeah, they’re scared of me.’ I had a great time in San Fran otherwise. I was cool with a lot of cats on the team. Just not playing was the hardest, especially Week 6 [when the Giants visited] and I saw everyone.”
Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.