Jacobs' Wife: Brandon's Ready

Talk about mixed emotions. One on hand, Brandon Jacobs couldn't wait to get up to Albany to start training camp. Heck, he was stopped but not ticketed for speeding before he even left New Jersey. Following a two-year apprenticeship, the Giants' starting running back position was all his.

On the other hand, the thought of leaving behind his beautiful wife, Kim, and their five-month-old son, Brayden, was about all Jacobs could handle.

"When I leave Jersey I'm itching to get here, but after the first hour passes, I'm like I wish I can go home," Jacobs said upon reporting to training camp. "It was kind of hard for me to leave because of my son. You know? I honestly cried. Grown men cry, I was kind of shocked."

Kim Jacobs isn't nearly as shocked. She sees a side of Brandon that most don't. We all see the bruising 265-pound battering ram looking to blow up any defenders in his way. She sees the quiet, caring, compassionate husband and father, the man who'll sit down and watch soap operas such as "One Live to Life" with her.

But she also sees the drive, Jacobs' determination not to be denied. And with the pressure he places squarely on his broad shoulders, which has increased even more so since the birth of their son, Kim Jacobs doesn't have a doubt in the world that her husband will succeed as the Giants featured back.

"He seems more focused," Kim Jacobs told TGI. "He's working out harder. He's eating better. He's trying to be more prepared. He's definitely more driven.

"He can't fail because if he does, in his mind he's failing us."

Brandon Jacobs has already heard all the talk. No one expects him to even be able to even come close to replacing Tiki Barber, who is quite simply the best running back in the storied history of the New York Giants. Jacobs enters the 2007 season with 522 career rushing yards; Barber used to get that in two games. While Jacobs maintains the utmost respect for Barber, he also admits that being asked about the Giants legend again and again has grown "tired."

"I don't give a damn what people say," Jacobs said. "I have talent, I can catch the ball, I can run with it. I don't have to run somebody over all the time. I actually am a running back."

It's that question of whether Jacobs can handle the transformation from short-yardage banger to every-down slasher that has provided many of the critics their ammunition.

"I think Brandon's one of the guys a lot of people are overlooking," Plaxico Burress said. "I think he's going to be a big surprise."

"I'm trying to change my style up a little bit and kind of mix it up," Jacobs said. "You never know I may go back to running everyone over and (Reuben Droughns) can get a little jitterish and we can switch it up every game. It's not hard at all to avoid people when possible. But sometimes there's no way to avoid it."

Just like there's no way to avoid noticing the extra confidence in Jacobs' voice when he yells during practice, the extra bounce in his step walking in and out of the dining hall at lunch-time and certainly just the overall extra swagger he carries these days. He's come a long way since being a fourth-round pick out of Southern Illinois in 2005.

"When I came in my rookie year, I was scared," he admitted. "The whole month up in Albany I was scared, confused and didn't know anything. This year I'm much more comfortable. I have an opportunity of a lifetime ahead of me. I've been around a little bit; I know my coaches and the guys I'm playing with so it feels that much better.

"Now that I'm comfortable I don't have to do all the thinking and stuff like that. I come out, work hard, study and there it is."

Through the first week-plus up in Albany, the fans and media couldn't have possibly hoped to see more out of Jacobs. And he can tell his teammates have noticed as well.

"I feel a lot of guys are looking at me differently now, but I am who I am," Jacobs said. "There's a big difference though; things happen fast in this league. Tiki decided to leave out of nowhere, but things like that happen. We won't be sorry."

His mates couldn't agree more.

"The difference with Brandon right now is that there's definitely a sense of urgency," Shaun O'Hara said. "I think having Tiki here his first two years, it took the pressure off him and he was kind of a little bit more laidback. But now you can definitely see the sense of urgency that he has. He just wants to be good. He doesn't have that redshirt mentality where it's going to come. He's ready to have it happen now.

"Now it's his third year, he's a little bit more established. Obviously he's our guy. When you do become a starter, it's almost like having part ownership now. It's your baby and you want to make sure you're doing what you have to do and make sure that everybody else is doing the same thing."

Reuben Droughns, whom the Giants acquired from Cleveland to back up Jacobs, has been impressed with how big number 27 carries himself – on and off the field.

"How poised he is as a running back has been impressive to me," Droughns said. "For him the first time being a starter, his poise in the huddle and in the meetings and everything has stood out."

"You can tell it's night and day from his first year to now," Derrick Ward added.

Now, it's less than a month until Brandon Jacobs makes his first career NFL start. And it comes under the bright lights of Texas Stadium on Sunday Night Football, no less.

"I'm very excited. I can't wait," he said. "It could be against anybody and I wouldn't be able to wait, but Dallas being the opponent makes it even better."

As opening night approaches, Mrs. Jacobs warns Giants fans not to fret.

"He's very excited and happy to have this opportunity to show off his talent," she said. "He's confident; not cocky. He's ready."

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