Giants running out of running backs

October, 14, 2013
10/14/13
2:10
PM ET
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants have one of the poorest running games in the NFL, and things may get even worse.

The Giants had just one tailback participate in practice Monday -- rookie seventh-round draft pick Michael Cox.

David Wilson is in Los Angeles getting a second opinion on his neck. Brandon Jacobs and Da'Rel Scott sat out with hamstring injuries. And Andre Brown isn't eligible to return from short-term injured reserve until Week 10.

On the bright side, Jacobs' injury doesn't appear to be serious. "Brandon, I think, will make it for Thursday [practice]," coach Tom Coughlin said. "Today was precautionary just to keep track of him and not do something that was unnecessary."

Nevertheless, this may be Cox's big break. Cox said the coaches have told him he'll play next Monday night against the Minnesota Vikings.

What his role will be remains to be seen. He's been active for four games this year, but has yet to get a carry. He does have two kickoff returns for 39 yards.

"There are some things that I think right now we feel good about," Coughlin said, regarding Cox. "There are other things not so [good]."

Coughlin's biggest concern? Keeping Eli Manning upright. "[Cox's] young -- it’s sophisticated, complex, the things that are thrown at him, particularly in the protection," the coach said. "So, we gotta be careful."

Cox admitted the offense has been harder to grasp than he expected, but thanks to studying film and talking with coaches and teammates, "I feel like I understand it now."

"I think it's just a lot to learn," Cox said. "You gotta be able to read the defensive line, see the secondary -- kind of like a quarterback does. That's the biggest difference."

The Giants are ranked 30th in the NFL in rushing, averaging just 67.8 yards per game on the ground. Wilson's injury could be season ending, and Scott may be lost for a while, too.

Jacobs rushed for 106 yards last week against the Chicago Bears, but he's 31 years old -- his best days are certainly behind him.

The Giants have an opportunity to throw Cox in the fire the next couple of weeks and see what the kid can do -- as long as they can reasonably trust him in pass protection. The team is 0-6, and some consideration should be given to building for the future.

Cox opened some eyes in training camp with his speed and explosiveness. But they'll never really know what they have until they give him opportunities in games.

Ahmad Bradshaw was the Giants' seventh-round pick in 2007 and finished his career as the sixth-leading rusher in franchise history, helping the team win two championships.

Perhaps Cox can defy the odds, too.
Kieran Darcy is an ESPNNewYork.com staff writer. He joined ESPN in August 2000 after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, where he played four years of JV basketball.
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