There's a lot excitement surrounding the New York Giants' running back situation this season. Ahmad Bradshaw was released in the offseason, but fans are excited about the two backs who are expected to shoulder most of the load in 2013. David Wilson didn't carry the ball much last season, but when he did, the results were often spectacular.
Andre Brown used the momentum from a breakout game against Carolina to become a major touchdown scorer later in the season. Before Brown broke his leg in Week 12, he had scored a touchdown in five straight games.So, the Giants have speedy, explosive back in Wilson and a burly goal line back in Brown. What's the issue here? For starters, neither player has experience carrying a full workload in the NFL.
"We have to work on our conditioning and Coach [Jerald] Ingram made sure," said Brown about preparing for the increased work, "He said that we were going to get a lot of carries, it's a lot different. We have to increase our conditioning and make sure that we're ready to go into the fifteen, twenty play drives where he doesn't want to see us tapping out."
At least Brown has that performance game against Carolina last season when he touched the ball 23 times and showed he can handle a full workload for at least one game. Wilson never had more than 16 touches in a game, and it's still unclear if he can maintain his 5.0 yards per carry from 2012 while carrying the ball 20-plus times per game.
"I understand that and it's an opportunity," said Brown when asked about the concern surrounding himself and Wilson. "We're looking forward to it. We worked hard this offseason and we're excited about the opportunity we have and we're ready to go out there and just show what we've got. Show that we're effective backs and we can be efficient in this offense and they need productive backs in this offense."
Beyond the void of production left by Bradshaw when he was released is the experience and leadership that he brought to the table. Brown and Wilson are confident that they can be assets in the intangibles department as well.
"Yeah, it's a different vibe," said Brown, "[Bradshaw] and Brandon [Jacobs] being more vocal and me being a great listener and also me being able to go out there and kind of being the spark to letting the guys know that it's time to play ball. I'm looking forward to that role, too. We got Dave. He's grown a lot since last year and he's been more vocal in the room too. We're combining it up and we're really looking forward to this year."
The good thing about the combination of Wilson and Brown is that each is clear about his role in the offense. Wilson is capable of making big plays whenever he touches the ball,and Brown is more of a short-yardage, move-the-chains back. Brown still thinks he has a good amount of burst, though.
"I think I'm more explosive than Dave, but some might say different," he joked while talking about the difference between the two players. "I've been more of a downhill runner and he's so explosive he can get outside and turn a five-yard gain into a sixty-yard homerun. We're definitely looking forward to it and I'm just happy for the opportunity that we have."
That opportunity is the potential for Brown and Wilson to be one of the top running back combinations in the NFL this season. We've seen each player flash his talent in small samples, but now it's time to see what they can do without Bradshaw as the starter.